Portugal’s reigning European 100 & 200m champion Francis Obikwelu highlighted the 37th ‘Gran Premio Diputación de Salamanca’ meeting, the third Spanish leg of the European Athletics Permit series this season, which was held on Wednesday (8).
The 30-year-old cruised to a convincing 10.10sec 100m victory into a following wind of 0.5m/s. Drawn in lane 5, the Athens 2004 Olympic silver medallist managed a season’s best and bounced back from his last year’s loss to Spain’s Ángel Rodríguez.
It was a profitable afternoon for Portuguese Athletics as Arnaldo Abrantes took second in a massive new PB of 10.19 (previous of 10.31) to secure a 1-2 for his country. The 22-year-old is a 200m specialist (PB of 20.31) and has the European U-23 4x100m silver medal to his credit.
Back in third finished Nigeria’s reigning World indoor 60m champion Olusoji Fasuba who is still rounding into form this season after a modest 10.39 debut in Madrid last Saturday. Fasuba clocked 10.20 for third yesterday on the eve of his 25th birthday. 2001 World 200m silver medallist Chris Williams finished fourth timed at 10.25 while his fellow Jamaican Ainsley Waugh was given the same clocking in fifth. Waugh won the 200m event in 20.45 (+1.4) later in the afternoon clearly ahead of Williams, timed at 20.70.
“I’m definitely satisfied with the outcome of the race as I’m far from my best form,” commented Obikwelu “Why? It’s simple, I’m just training three times a week and the rest of the time I enjoy life. I’m looking forward to competing at the upcoming Worlds in Berlin but I don’t feel any pressure. I like the athletics atmosphere here in Salamanca; I performed pretty well today; otherwise, any of my rivals would have won the race as they all are quality sprinters.”
Still running fast with a low load of work
The Nigerian-born ace also explained: “yes, it’s true that I suggested at the end of last season that I was going to quit athletics but I still had a one-year contract with my club in Portugal (Sporting Lisboa) and that fact has kept me in the circuit this year. Let’s see what happens next year, I still have to decide whether I try to defend in Barcelona 2010 the 100/200 double I grabbed at the Europeans in Gothenburg 2006.”
Thomas takes revenge from Wignall
Top flat sprinter Dwight Thomas of Jamaica seems to be determined to look for his fortune in the 110m hurdles this season, an event he already had tackled in previous years (PB of 13.34 back in 2004).
Credited with a 10.00 100m PB and having being a member of the successful Jamaican quartet which took gold in the 4x100 relay at the Beijing Olympics, the 28-year-old already performed over the barriers at the National championships held in Kingston in late June where he was narrowly (13.48/13.50) beaten by the 33-year-old Maurice Wignall but yesterday it was Thomas who got the better of the 2004 World Indoor 60m hurdles bronze medallist to romp home in 13.38 for Wignall’s 13.41 in a tailwind of 2.6m/s. Spain’s Jackson Quiñónez completed a classy podium with a 13.55 performance albeit USA’s Joel Brown ran 13.54 (+1.5) in the ‘B’ race.
Commonwealth bronze medallist Scott Martin of Australia produced a SB toss in the Shot Put of 20.45m in the final round to take the contest, while Portugal’s Marco Fortes came runner-up thanks to a 20.12 release and Jamaica’s Dorian Scott also exceeded the 20m barrier with a 20.04 effort.
The win in the men’s 400m went for Australia’s Joel Milburn in 45.83sec ahead of South Africa’s Ofentse Mogawane’s 45.90 while Spain’s 2002 World Cup winner Antonio Reina took a slow 800m in 1:48.04 ahead of fellow Spaniard 2005 European indoor bronze medallist Juan de Dios Jurado, runner-up in 1:48.40.
Back in the infield, Russia’s 2006 World Indoor High Jump silver medallist Andrey Tereshin was the winner with a 2.26m first-time clearance while Spain’s Javier Bermejo had to settle for second having also cleared 2.26 but only at his third attempt.
USA’s Matt Turner produced a big career best of 8.16m in the men’s Long Jump. The 23-year-old only managed one valid leap but that proved to be enough to take the contest in style ahead of his compatriot George Kitchens who landed at 7.99 (+2.3) although he also leapt a valid 7.98 for a new PB.
In the women’s section it’s worth mentioning the 100m win recorded by USA’s 2005 World Long Jump champion Tianna Madison who was credited with 11.33 against a 0.8m/s breeze while her fellow American Shareese Woods, the reigning World indoor 400m bronze medallist, finished second in 11.55.
Woods also was runner-up in the 200m event, a discipline taken by Jamaica’s reigning Olympic 4x400m bronze medallist Rosemarie Whyte in a career best 22.74 for Woods’ SB of 22.84.
Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF