Report29 Jun 2013

Greek jumpers and Turkey's Ozbilen provide the athletics highlights at the Mediterranean Games


Konstadinos Baniotis of Greece in the high jump (© Getty Images)

Four days of athletics action at the XVII Mediterranean Games in the Turkish city of Mersin came to an end on Saturday (29), with the best marks including Greece’s Kostadinos Baniotis  High Jump win with personal best of 2.34m.

Baniotis, second at the last Mediterranean Games four years ago in Italy but who has often struggled to produce his best outdoors after failing to make the final at the last two Olympic Games and IAAF World Championships, went over the height on his second attempt before having three failures at a Greek record height of 2.37m. Italy’s Silvano Chesani was second with 2.28m.

Louis Tsatoumas added to the Greek gold medal tally in the athletics events with a Long Jump win in 8.14m, a distance he reached in the first round. He was the only man to go over eight metres.

There was another good Greek win in the women’s Triple Jump when Athanasia Perra won with a third round effort of 14.48m. Slovenia’s Snezana Rodic had all five of her valid attempts over 14 metres culminating in 14.36m, which secured her the silver medal.

Italy’s 2013 European indoor champion Daniele Greco won the Triple Jump with his third round effort of 17.13m.

Greece’s Dimítrios Tsiámis reached 17.00m in thre third round but, ahead in the jumping order, Greco passed his final three jumps after watching his rival unable to approach his distance.

Italy’s former world champion Giuseppe Gibilisco took the Pole Vault title when he was the only man over 5.70m while Greece’s Stella-Iro Ledaki was likewise the only woman over 4.50m.

Croatia’s London 2012 Olympic Games Discus champion Sandra Perkovic continued her 2013 unbeaten season when her fourth round effort flew out to 66.21m, to win by more than four metres.

Ozbilen shines over the shorter distance

On the track, arguably the top performer was Turkey’s Ilham Tanui Ozbilen, who scored a middle-distance double, winning firstly the 1500m in 3:35.09 and then the 800m on Saturday in a national record of 1:44.00.

There was more Turkish delight in the Javelin as Fatih Avan won with 83.84m with Egypt’s Ihab El Rahman throwing a national record of 82.45m for the silver medal.

Perhaps rivalling Ozbilen for the best performance on the track, Serbia's 2012 European Athletics Championships 400m Hurdles silver medallist Emir Bekric clocked a national record of 48.83 to win his specialist event.

Morocco’s Siham Hilali was a convincing winner of the women’s 1500m in 4:04.06. Hilali’s compatriot Hayat Lambarki ran 55.27 to win the 400m Hurdles, holding off her fellow Moroccan Lamia El Habz who was second in 55.51 as both women recorded personal bests.  Italy’s Marzia Caravelli took the 100m Hurdles in 12.98.

Cyprus’ two victories came in the women’s events with Eleni Artymata taking the 200m in 23.18 into a light breeze and Nektaria Panagi winning the Long Jump with 6.51m.

France’s Emmanuel Biron won the 100m in 10.22, just edging out Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev, who was second in 10.23. In the 200m, Greece’s Lykourgos-Stefanos Tsakounas clocked a personal best of 20.45 to leave Guliyev having to settle for his second silver medal by the same margin as his defeat in the 100m, just 0.01.

Italy’s Matteo Galvan took the 400m in a personal best of 45.59. Turkey’s Polat Arikan Kemboi won the 10000m in 28:17.26, coming home almost 40 seconds clear of his nearest rival. Algeria’s 3000m Steeplechase winner Amar Benyahia clocked 8:14.05 for a national record while his team mate Amina Betiche took the women’s title over the barriers in 9:40.71.

Spain’s one and only gold medal came on Saturday courtesy of the shot putter Borja Vivas who reached 19.99m.

Italy convincingly topped the athletics medal table with 12 victories, including in the last two events as they took the honours in the men’s and women’s 4x400m relays in 3:04.61 and 3:32.44 respectively.

Phil Minshull for the IAAF