Yordani Garcia at the 2013 Pan American Combined Events Cup (© Ottawa Lions)
Cuba’s defending champion Yorgelis Rodriguez and Yordani Garcia took the top honours of the 2nd Pan American Combined Events Cup, which drew athletes from 12 countries to Ottawa’s Terry Fox Athletic Facility over the weekend (1-2).
Both Cubans were the overnight leaders and stayed in pole position during the second day with 2012 World junior champion Rodriguez finishing with 5947 points and Garcia totaling 8141 points, both meeting records.
Former World Youth Championships Octathlon gold medallist Garcia started Sunday with a 116-point lead over USA’s Gray Horn and increased it with a good Pole Vault, going over 4.80m.
Cuba’s Jose Angel Mendieta dominated the Javelin, throwing 14 meters more than Horn to move up to second place. He held that position after the 1500m and scored 7766 points to make it one-two for Cuba with Horn rounding up the podium places with 7581 points.
“I am happy with the way I competed. I wanted a higher score, but the weather did not cooperate and could not perform well in my strongest events on the second day. I hope to compete next (the IAAF Combined Events Challenge meeting) in Ratingen, Germany later in June,” said Garcia, who finished eighth at both the 2007 and 2009 IAAF World Championships but who has struggled to find his best form in the last two years.
“I am especially happy with my Long Jump and came close to my PB in the Pole Vault. I’m now in my third Olympic cycle and I need to work on the most technical events,” said Garcia, who dedicated his win to his 14-month-old daughter Fabianys.
The two-time Olympian won the 2009 NACAC Championships in Havana with 8496 points, which is still his personal best, although he still only 24.
In the Heptathlon, 2012 World Junior champion Yorgelis Rodriguez never had her lead threatened and won comfortably by more than 250 points.
“I am happy with the victory but I expected more after a good first day. I had a poor Long Jump and I could not perform well in the Javelin. I do not blame the weather, although it was a factor in the Long Jump. I am especially happy with my performance in the 100m Hurdles. I learn in every Heptathlon and I will continue to prepare for the World Championships in Moscow,” commented 18-year old Rodriguez.
Paraguay’s Ana Pirelli Cubas improved her national record to take silver with 5683 points, ahead of USA’s Lindsay Schwartz, who was third with 5645 points. Second after the first day, the 2011 IAAF World Youth Championships gold medallist Yusleidys Mendieta had a slow 800m and dropped to fourth with 5560 points.
By adding the total of the best two athletes in both the Decathlon and Heptathlon, Cuba lifted Pan American Cup as the best country overall. The Mayor of the City of Ottawa, Jim Watson, attended both the closing and awards ceremony.
Organized by the Association of Pan American Athletics (APA), Athletics Canada and Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club, the Pan American Combined Events Cup is viewed by many federations as a great opportunity to develop up and coming athletes in the current cycle leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Javier Clavelo Robinson or the IAAF