Yargelis Savigne led the triple jump qualifiers with a 14.99m leap (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Havana, Cuba

Savigne, Copello and Lopez shine at Barrientos Memorial

World champion Yargelis Savigne and Alexis Copello confirmed their good form in the Triple Jump, while Yeimer Lopez ran 1:44.11 in the 800m to provide the highlight of the Barrientos Memorial held over a rainy weekend in the Cuban capital.

World leader Savigne, who has leapt 14.73m twice this season already, landed at 14.72m this time to break the meet record set 10 years ago.

“We are now taking a high volume and I am happy to stay consistent around 14.70m. As soon I enter the competitive stage, I will be able to reach 15m. I am very motivated to defend my world title in Berlin,” said Savigne.

Mabel Gay, the 2003 World Championships finalist, came second in a season’s best of 14.57m, followed by World Youth and Junior champion Dailenis Alcántara, who broke Gay’s CAC and national junior record with 14.36m.

The men’s event witnessed another close rivalry between Cuba’s top four men, including former world leaders Alexis Copello and Yoandri Betanzos, as well as 2008 World indoor runner-up David Giralt.

Copello opened with a personal best of 17.65m, just one centimetre shy of the world leading mark set by Portugal’s World and Olympic champion Nelson Evora a week earlier in Rio de Janeiro.

Osniel Tosca, fourth at the 2007 World Championships, responded with a season’s best of 17.20m, followed by Giralt (17.13m) and Betanzos (17.10m), before a heavy rain forced the men to call it a day after the third round.

“I am very happy with my third jump over 17.60 this year. We all benefit from the rivalry among us and it will be difficult to determine the three men for Berlin. I aim for a podium there,” said Copello, who had already jumped 17.62m in March and a wind-assisted 17.69m in April to win the ALBA Games.

López takes down Juantorena’s meeting record

On the track, Olympic finalist Yeimer López produced the best performance as he ran 1:44.11, his third fastest time ever and fourth quickest in the world this season, to eclipse 1976 Olympic champion Alberto Juantorena’s meet record of 1:45.80, set in 1977.

“I wanted to break 1:44 in front of my home crowd. I came close, but this time shows I am ready for the European tour. I have high ambitions for Berlin,” said the 2007 Pan American Games champion.

CAC Games gold medallist Andy Gonzalez (1:46.42) and junior Raidel Acea (1:46.68) trailed him in the finish line.

Zulia Calatayud, the 2005 World champion, took the women’s two-lap race comfortably in 2:02.42.

At 19, Omar Cisnero surprised himself and the crowd as he became the second Cuba to break the 49-second barrier in the 400m Hurdles (48.87), just four hundredths of a second off the national record set by Yacnier Luis in 2004.

With 2008 Olympic champion Dayron Robles absent as he tunes up his training before starting his European tour in June, his namesake Dayron Capetillo took the sprint hurdles in a personal best of 13.57 to beat Colombia’s 2006 World Indoor finalist Paulo Villar (13.66).

The women’s Javelin witnessed a new Cuban in the 60m club as CACAC junior record holder Yainelis Ribeaux improved her lifetime best by over five metres to win in 61.72m, ahead of 2004 Olympic champion and former World record holder Osleidys Menéndez (60.28m). Yanet Cruz was third with 58.83m.

Mialin Vargas joined the 19m club in the Shot Put (19.02m) to beat 2008 Olympic fourth placer finisher Misleydis González by just one centimetre.

Osaka finalist Arasay Thondike bettered her two-year-old personal best to 71.72m to prevail in the women’s Hammer Throw, ahead of USA’s Amber Campbell (69.76m), 2004 Olympic bronze medallist Yunaika Crawford (69.33m) and USA’s Jessica Cosby (68.67m).

Other notable winners were 2008 Olympic silver medallist Yarelis Barrios in the women’s Discus (62.04m) and Olympic fifth place finisher Wilfredo Martínez in the Long Jump (8.13m), well clear of Beijing bronze medallist Ibrahin Camejo (7.71m).

Foreign athletes could only win the High Jump, thanks to Antigua and Barbuda’s 2007 Pan American bronze medallist James Grayman, who trains at the IAAF High Performance Training Center in Havana, and Jamaica’s Sheree Francis.

Established in 1950, the Barrientos Memorial pays tribute to 1928 Olympian Jose “Pepe” Barrientos, who unofficially broke the 100m world record in the 1920’s. The 2009 edition drew athletes from eight countries, including seven former and current World and Olympic medallists. A total of six meet records were broken.

NB: The NACAC Combined Events Championships, where Yordanis García produced a world-leading 8496 point tally in the Decathlon, was held in conjunction with this meeting. See 'related items' at right for a full report.

Here are the Barrientos Memorial winners. All are Cuban, except when specified:

Men -
100m Michael Herrera 10.36 (-1.2)
200m Roberto Skyers 20.99 (-1.8)
400m William Collazo 45.66
800m Yeimer López 1:44.10 MR
10,000m Henry Jaens 30:12.57
3,000m ST José Alberto Sánchez 8:54.39
110m H Dayron Capetillo 13.57 (-0.4)
400m H Omar Cisneros 48.87 MR
HJ James Grayman ANT 2.15
PV Lázaro Borges 5.60 MR
LJ Wilfredo Martínez 8.13
TJ Alexis Copello 17.65
SP Carlos Véliz 20.40
DT Jorge Fernández 62.25
HT Roberto Janet CUB 73.17
JT Guillermo Martínez 78.44
4x100m Cuba 40.08
4x400m Cuba 3:14.20
Women -
100m Virgen Benavides 11.88 (-1.2)
200m Dulaimi Odelín 23.91 (-0.7)
400m Indira Terrero 51.56
800m Zulia Calatayud 2:02.42
10,000m Yudisleivis Castillo 34:16.34 MR
100m H Anay Tejeda 13.03 (0.6)
400m H Yadisleidy Pedroso 56.91
HJ Sheree Francis JAM 1.80
PV Yarisley Silva 4.40 MR
LJ Dailenis Alcántara 6.27
TJ Yargelis Savigne 14.72 MR
SP Mailín Vargas 19.02
DT Yarelis Barrios 62.04
HT Arasay Thondike 71.72
JT Yainelis Ribeaux 61.72
4x100m Cuba 44.98
4x400m Cuba 3:38.32

MR = Meet Record

Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF