Pedro Pablo Pichardo’s whirlwind start to 2015 continued when he improved his Cuban triple jump record to a world-leading 18.08m at the Copa Cuba-Memorial Barrientos meeting in Havana on Thursday evening (28).
The 21-year-old Pichardo, the 2012 world junior champion and 2013 world silver medallist, has now improved the national record at three successive meetings in 2015.
He jumped 17.94m in Havana on 8 May and then broke through the 18-metre barrier with 18.06m to win at the first IAAF Diamond League meeting of the season in Doha on 15 May.
He has now gone two centimetres farther to consolidate his place as the third-best triple jumper of all time, behind only Great Britain’s world record-holder Jonathan Edwards and the USA’s Kenny Harrison.
His big jump in Havana came in the second round after he had opened with 17.93m. He passed his remaining four attempts.
"I did not expect this result because since my return (from Doha) I have been working on technical improvements, focusing on my run up and take off, but I still felt great,” he told local reporters.
“I was only looking to jump better than 17.50m, with the target of breaking the meeting record of 17.78m, which had been held by Lazaro Betancourt (since 1986), but I did not expect to exceed 18 metres.”
Among those watching, probably in amazement, on Thursday were some of the greats of Cuban triple jumping history, including Yoelbi Quesada, Yoel Garcia and Aliecer Urrutia.
Pichardo’s next two appearances are scheduled to be at the Rome and New York stops of the IAAF Diamond League on 4 and 13 June respectively.
He was not the only man to set a national record on Thursday.
Roberto Janet improved the Cuban men’s hammer record to 78.02m with his first throw, breaking a record of 77.78m which had stood to Alberto Sanchez since 1998.
On the first day of the competition, Denia Caballero improved her discus PB to 69.51m, moving her to third on the Cuban all-time list. Only Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic has thrown farther this millennium.
Another impressive mark came earlier in the week on Tuesday, when discus thrower Denia Caballero threw a personal best of 69.51m, the best distance by anyone other than Sandra Perkovic since 1999.
Her previous best before the competition was 67.87m, which she threw just two weeks prior, in Havan on 8 May.
The full series for Caballero, who was sixth at the 2013 IAAF World Championships, was: 68.52m, foul, pass, 69.51m, pass, 67.24m.
Former world junior champion Yaimi Perez also improved her personal best to 66.23m in second place on Tuesday.
Javier Clavelo Robinson and Phil Minshull for the IAAF