SPORTS

Savigne excels at Athens meet

Cuban triple jumper Yargelis Savigne achieved the world’s best performance this season at the star-studded IAAF Athens Grand Prix Tsiklitiria OPAP track and field meeting last night at the Olympic Stadium. Savigne became the first athlete this year to reach 15 meters, with her effort at 15.00, to win the event that Greek champion Piyi Devetzi missed due to injury. »I am very satisfied with my performance. The crowd helped me very much, as is usual in Athens. The next competition for me will be the Vardinoyiannia in Rethymno,» said Savigne, referring to the meeting on Crete on Monday, July 20. There were many impressive performances at the annual Athens meeting as the world’s top athletes gear up for the World Championship next month (August 15-23) in Berlin. Veronica Campbell Brown, the Jamaican winner of two Olympic gold medals, won the women’s 100 meters in an impressive 10.96 seconds, going under 11 seconds for the first time this season and achieving the fourth-best time in the world this year. American Carmelita Jeter came in second with 11.02. The winner of the men’s 110-meter hurdles, in which five of the eight runners were American, was 29-year-old Joel Brown of the US with 13.18 seconds. Ryan Brathwaite of Barbados was second with 13.22, but had a favorable wind of 2.3 meters per second. Marina Aitova of Kazakhstan won the women’s high jump with 1.99 meters, a new Asian record. Amy Acuff of the US was second with 1.95. Greece’s Tonia Stergiou disappointed with her 1.80 m effort. Ivory Williams from the US clocked the best time in 9.95 seconds in the men’s 100 meters, also with a favorable wind of 2.4 m/sec. His compatriot Mark Jelks followed with 9.99 seconds. Travis Padgett won the other 100 m heat with 10.09 seconds but with the wind against him at 0.60 m/sec. In the women’s 400 meters Novlene Williams-Mills of Jamaica was first with 50.05 seconds. Monica Hargrove of the US was second with 50.39, a personal best. Russian Svetlana Feofanova won the women’s pole vault with 4.68 meters and had three failed attempts at 4.80 meters. Fellow Russian Yuliya Golubchikova was second with 4.53 meters. Asbel Kiprop of Kenya finished in 1:43.48 in the 800 meters and won ahead of Sudan’s Ismail Ahmed Ismail (1:43.82) and Canada’s Gary Reed (1:43.95). The women’s shot put had an unexpected development, with Nadezhda Ostapchuk from Belarus winning with her very last attempt at 19.68 meters, pipping German Nadine Kleinert by just one centimeter. Ostapchuk’s shot is also a meeting record. Latvian athletes dominated the men’s javelin as Vadims Vasilievskis won with his best throw of 88.33 m. He was followed by two compatriots, Ainars Kovals (80.72 m) and Eriks Rags (79.98 m). Kenya’s Brimin Kipruto, who took gold at last summer’s Beijing Olympics, won the 3,000-meters steeplechase with a time of 8:03.17, his best this season and the fourth best in the world. Marya Jamal of Ethiopia, who races in the colors of Brunei, won the women’s 1,500 meters in 3:58.72. After finishing second in his heat in the 100 meters, Mark Jelks smashed his personal record in the 200 meters to win the race in a time of 20.28 seconds. Stephan Buckland of Mauritius was second with 20.33 secs. LaShawn Merritt of the US broke the meeting record in the 400 meters with 44.54 secs, winning the race by more than five meters at the finish line. The 23-year-old had won the gold medal in Beijing last summer. David Neville, also of the US, was second with 45.14 secs. Dimitris Gravalos scored a season’s best with 46.24. Fabrice Lapierre of Australia managed to overtake Greece’s Louis Tsatoumas in his last attempt (8.24 meters) to win the long jump. Tsatoumas had achieved a season’s best 8.21 meters and finished second. Russian Gulnara Galkina had no problem winning the women’s 3,000 meters steeplechase with 9.17.85. She is the world record woman in the distance. Ivan Ukhov equaled the Russian national record in the high jump with 2.34 meters. Jaroslav Baba of the Czech Republic was second with 2.31 meters. Cypriot Kyriakos Ioannou went over 2.28 meters. Finally, in the men’s 400 meters hurdles, Jamaican Isa Philips won with a time of 48.09 seconds, leaving Greece’s Periklis Iakovakis in sixth with 49.52. Some 20,000 track and field fans attended the event, a very encouraging figure for the organizers, Panellinios athletic club.