Javier Sotomayor of Cuba - World High Jump record holder (© Getty Images)
Cubans ready for the World Championships
The Cuban National Championships, which took place in La Havana ended yesterday.
The elite of Cuban athletics will now be heading to Europe to participate in the IAAF Grand Prix Circuit before defending their national colours at the Pan American Games (24-31 July in Winnipeg, CAN) and the 7th IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Seville, Spain from 20 to 29 August.
The best technical result of the championships was accomplished by 22 year old Daimi Pernia who did not run the 400m yesterday in order to concentrate on the 400m hurdles. And it turned out to be a very good choice for she clocked an excellent 54.72 to establish a new national record.
"Now, I am really happy, for my goal was to run under 55 seconds. I am still hesitating between the 400m and the 400m hurdles. I don’ t know whether I will compete in some European meetings but at the Pan American Games I will run the hurdles and the 4x400m relay. After that we will see."
World Champion and world record holder Javier Sotomayor jumped only twice to clear easily 2.31m, improving by 1 centimetre his best result of the season.
"I am in a pretty good shape for I have had some excellent training sessions at altitude. What I need now is competition. I think I will be leaving for Europe around June 6 to participate in several meetings before the Pan American Games and the World Championships in Seville where I hope to get a medal"
In a thrilling triple jump contest, Yoel Garcia (17.05) defeated World Champion Yoelvis Quesada by 4 centimetres, with Michael Calvo finishing third ahead of World Indoor record holder Aliecer Urrutia.
According to the national technical director, Cuba will be represented by a record number of athletes in Seville, many more than in Athens’97. Nevertheless, team leader Sotomayor feels that the Cubans will have to work hard to ensure that their results are as good as they were two years ago in Greece.
"I think Cuba could win several world titles in Spain and one or two medals. On the other hand, we should definitely be able to improve the number of Cuban finalists. The rest is a question of luck."
In Athens ’97, Cuba won 4 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze to finish third behind the USA and Germany in the Nations Medals Standings.
100m (+0.8) 1. Rionda 10.37; 2. Ortiz 10.43
200m (-0.4) 1. Garcia 20.98; 2. Vera 21.42
800m 1. Torres 1:52.79; 2. Navarro 1:53.04
3000m steeple chase 1. Iglesias 8:57.66
High jump 1. Sotomayor 2.31m; 2. Mayo 2.20m
Pole vault 1. Garcia 5m
Triple jump 1. Garcia (-0.3) 17.05m; 2. Quesada (-0.2) 17.01; 3. Calvo 16.96 (-2.0); 4. Urrutia (+0.2) 16.69m
100m (+0.7) 1. Benavides 11.26; 2. Hechevarria 11.64
200m (-1.8) 1. Benavides 23.62; 2. Diaz 23.71; 3. Bonne 23.98
800m 1. Calatayud 2:2.58; 2. Lara 2:03.04
400m hurdles 1. Permia 54.72 NR; 2. Grifan 57.78
High jump 1. Hurca 1.75m
Long jump 1. Cuza 6.21m