Devetzi’s jump best in the world

Piyi Devetzi and Periklis Iakovakis excelled in last weekend’s Greek championship as the country’s track and field athletes showed they are gearing up well for this August’s Olympic Games. Devetzi jumped 14.92 meters – a world best for this year – to win the triple-jump final on Sunday at Athens’ Olympic Stadium. Devetzi, who had also jumped 14.70 meters in qualifying on Saturday, showed she is one of the favorites for a medal in the Beijing Olympics. She also continued her involvement in the long jump, winning the event with a 6.58-meter jump, ahead of Stella Pilatou who managed 6.37 meters. Iakovakis clocked the best time this year in Europe in the men’s 400-meter hurdles on Saturday. He ran the distance in 48.80 seconds, winning gold in the championship, which also served as a selection event for the team that will represent Greece in the European Cup this coming weekend. In the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, Irini Kokkinariou amazed fans by smashing her own national record of 9 minutes 42.97 seconds, clocking 9.36:47 on Saturday. With this performance Kokkinariou has automatically qualified for this summer’s Olympics. Pole-vaulter Aphroditi Skafida broke her own national record (4.48 m) twice, jumping 4.50 meters first and then 4.55 m, while Stella Papageorgiou also registered a new national record in the women’s hammer throw with a 71.80-meter shot. Louis Tsatoumas recorded the fourth-longest jump in the world this year, 8.32 meters, to win gold and clinch qualification to the Beijing Games.