Cuban Alexis Copello, Moroccan Salima Alami, and Brazilians Ronald Julião and Maurren Maggi produced the best performances of the "28º Grande Prêmio Brasil/Caixa de Atletismo" in Rio de Janeiro’s "Estádio João Havelange", the venue of the 2016 Olympic Games, on Sunday 20 May.
The "Grande Prêmio Brasil/Caixa de Atletismo" is an IAAF World Challenge meeting.
In a nice morning with temperatures and humidity around 25°C and 50%, the twenty-six year-old Copello grabbed the victory at Triple Jump with a season’s best of 17.17m (wind 0.2) from round four. Copello, bronze medallist at the 2009 World Championships beat his compatriot Osviel Hernández, the leader of the 2012 world lists with 17.49m, who only managed 16.83m in Rio.
"I believe this is a good result for me, since these are my initial competitions of the outdoor season", explained Copello.
Moroccan Salimi Alami won the 3000m Steeplechase with a personal best of 9:31.03 (fifth performance of the 2012 world lists). Alami was pushed by Ethiopian Mekdes Bekele (who ran a SB of 9:40.62) and by Colombian Ángela Figueroa – who set a national record with 9:42.71. The splits of the race were: 3:07.0 at 1000m by Alami and 6:19.0 at 2000m by Bekele.
Ronald Julião produced the best performance by a Brazilian athlete by winning the Discus Throw competition with a national record of 65.41m (series of 59.40; 61.82; 65.41; foul). Julião (26 years) beat Cuban Jorge Fernández, the 2011 Pan-American Games Champion and finalist from Daegu 2011, who managed 63.89m. Argentina’s Germán Lauro was third (60.48m).
"I knew I was capable of such a result. I have been throwing on that range in training. I’m very happy with my performance and anxious to represent my country in an event where we don’t have a rich tradition", explained Julião, who is now second in the South American lists behind the 66.32m area record of Argentina’s Jorge Balliengo.
Maurren Maggi, the 2008 Olympic champion at Long Jump, continued her winning streak by taking the victory with 6.69m (wind -0.5). In an all-Brazilian podium Keila Costa was second with 6.58m and Eliane Martins third with 6.53m.
"I was expecting a better mark (after the 6.85m from São Paulo), but it’s always sweet to win. I feel well prepared for London. We still have to work on minor details at the final part of the run and at the jump, but we still have plenty of time for that", expressed the 35 year-old.
Silva beats Murer again
Another fine victory for a Cuban came in the hands of Yarisley Silva at Pole Vault. The 24 year-old jumped 4.60m to beat the 2011 World champion, Brazilian Fabiana Murer, for second time in a week (4.65m to 4.50m in São Paulo).
"These competitions have been very positive for me. I was able to reach my goals. I still need to be more fluent at 4.70m", said Silva. "I am vaulting better", explained Murer who jumped 4.50m again. "There are still technical details to work on in training. I’m not worried at this point, but I’m still not at the heights I want to be".
Fine marks for Brazilian 4x100m relays
Brazil displayed very good performances in both 4x100m relays.
The men’s 4x100m team (Carlos Morães, Sandro Viana, Nilson André, Diego Cavalcante) set a season’s best of 38.63 sec. "It happened to be a good race, with fast competition that pushed us to run fast", said thirty-five year-old Sandro Viana. An international team with athletes from Jamaica, Zambia and Trinidad and Tobago finished second with 38.87.
Brazil women’s 4x100m team won in 43.01. The team was composed by Ana Cláudia Lemos, Vanda Gomes, Evelyn Santos, Rosangela Santos. "It was a good race, but it’s only our second event of the season. We have things to improve, especially in the exchanges", analysed Lemos, the South American record holder at 100 and 200m. Colombia, second with 43.58, also posted a SB.
Other Brazilians with a positive day were Rosângela Santos and Laila Silva. The twenty-one year-old Santos won the 100m with a personal best of 11.21 (0.6), and reached the qualification standard for London 2012. Santos was exultant. "I hit the post twice (running within 2/100 of the standard), but I was confidant I would get it". Bahamian Sheniqua Ferguson was second with 11.30, just ahead of American Lauryn Williams, the 2004 Olympic silver medallist (11.32).
Laila Silva took the victory in the Javelin Throw with a personal best of 60.21m from her initial throw. The twenty-nine year-old improved from 57.82m and became the third South American athlete over the 60m-barrier. "I’m happy with the result but this is not the A standard (61m). I can’t just sit and wait because other athletes are capable of reaching this mark and even improve it. I need to keep pushing myself", said Silva.
In a fine 800m race, 19 year-old Kenyan Anthony Chemut won in a PB of 1:45.27 (50.98 at 400m). Brazilian Diego Gomes was second with 1:45.62, just 2/100 off of the "A" standard to qualify for London 2012.
IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge
The Hammer Throw competitions, which were part of the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge, took place on Saturday 19 May. Tajikistan’s Dilshod Nazarov won the male event with 76.97m ahead of Belarus’ Siarhei Kalamoets (75.77). American Kibwe Johnson was announced but didn’t compete.
American Jessica Cosby won the female event with 71.80m, beating Moldova’s Marina Marghieva (71.34m) and Argentina’s Jennifer Dahlgren (70.45m). Germany’s Kathrin Klaas, a finalist of the past two World Championships, had three fouls.
The Rio GP ends the "2012 Brazilian Athletics Tour", a series of five meets around the South American nation that also included events in Belém, Fortaleza, Uberlândia and São Paulo.
Victories in the rest of the events went to the following athletes: Men 100m: Emmanuel Callender TRI 10.07/1.5 SB 400m: Ânderson Henriques BRA 46.12 100m Hurdles: Richard Phillips JAM 13.63/-0.2 400m Hurdles: Kurt Couto POR 49.71 4x400m: Venezuela (Bravo, Ramírez, Meléndez, Longart) 3:01.88 Women 400m: Geisa Coutinho BRA 51.79 100m Hurdles: Nicole Denby USA 13.24/-0.1 4x400m: Brazil (Coutinho, Teodoro, J. Sousa, de Lima) 3:31.79