Wednesday, March 14, 2007

'Osaka ambitions' - Moreno and Martinez excel at Cuban Throwing Champs

Santiago, Cuba - Olympic and World Championships Hammer Throw silver medallist Yipsi Moreno and World Championships Javelin Throw finalist Guillermo Martinez produced the highest notes at the Cuban Throwing Champs Aurelio Janet Memorial, held last weekend (10-11March) in the eastern city of Santiago.

A week after erasing her national and CAC area record with 75.64m in Jamaica, Moreno, the 2001 and 2003 World champion, confirmed her good early season form with a 73.25 metre effort.

Guillermo Martinez throwing at the 2006 Cuban National Olympics
(Javier Clavelo Robinson)
Moreno’s series was 69.12, 73.25, 73.18, 71.25, foul and pass the final round.

“It boosts my confidence to stay consistent over 72-73 metres. I have had two on and off seasons, but things are back on the right path. I hope to keep improving and move up to the next level, 76-77 metres”, said 26-year old Moreno.

Arasay Thondike, who had reached 70 metres a week ago, was out of the competition due to some minor pain, while 2004 Olympic bronze medallist Yunaika Crawford missed the meet due to more serious injury. Moreno’s only real rival was herself.

Yuliet Díaz (60.65) and junior Ariannys Bichy (60.12) were distant second and third, respectively.

Yipsi Moreno (CUB)
Moreno will try to successfully defend her Pan American Games crown in Rio de Janeiro, in July, and get on the top of the World Championships podium in Osaka a month later.

Martinez spears 83.84m

After opening his season with 82.16m in mid February, 2006 Central American and Caribbean Javelin Throw champion Guillermo Martinez proved again he is in great shape with another long throw of 83.84.

Martinez had a solid series with three other 80m plus efforts (82.00, 80.68, 83.84, 79.55, foul and 82.25).

Although his 2006 season ended in July after claiming his first international title in Cartagena, Colombia, 25-year-old Martinez smashed the six-year old national Javelin standard with an 87.17m toss at the Paris leg of the 2006 IAAF Golden League, where he beat 2004 Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway.

“I am very motivated this year with major goals like the Pan American Games and the World Championships. I want to keep Cuba’s Javelin Pan American success in Rio de Janeiro and make up in Osaka for the disappointing 10th place in Helsinki”, stated Martinez.

“My ultimate aim is to reach the 90m mark. It is possible and I will steadily get closer to it”, he added.

He was followed by Anier Boué (76.47) and CAC Games silver medallist Yudel Moreno (71.90).

Menendez sidelined

Expected to make her season’s debut, World and Olympic women’s Javelin Throw champion, Osleidys Menéndez is still trying to make a come back after being laid low due to tendonitis.

The World record holder resumed training in December and is expected to make her first outing of the year later this month or at the 2nd ALBA Games in Venezuela, April 28-May 12.

In her absence the competition in Santiago was taken by 2001 World Championships bronze medallist and 2006 World Cup runner-up Sonia Biset (59.95), in her first competition of 2007.

She was followed by Maria Caridad Alvarez (58.22) and 2005 World Youth Championships bronze medallist Yanet Cruz.

Other winners at the Throws Champs were 2004 Olympic women’s Shot Put champion Yumileidi Cumbá (17.95m), and Alexis Paumier (19.00) in the men’s Shot Put, CAC Games champions Yania Ferrales (61.02) and Yunior Lastre (57.90) respectively in the two Discus throws competitions, as well as Noleysi Vicet (71.70) in the men’s Hammer Throw.

Leonel Suarez becomes third Cuban 8000 decathlete

As guests at the Janet Memorial, the combined events specialists also produced good results, as Leonel Suarez became the third Cuban man ever to break the 8000 point mark with an 8185 tally. His results were 10.8, 7.25, 12.80, 2.14 and 49.0 on the first day. On the second, he produced 14.2, 42.10, 4.40, 70.35 and 4.27.02.

Suarez is close to the national record (8.252), set in 2000 by current national team coach and former World junior champion (1992) Raul Duany.

Runner-up, 19-year old Yunior Diaz, the 2005 Pan American Junior Championships silver medallist, also improved his decathlon best by over 500 points with a 7.902 tally (10.4, 7.55, 13.80, 1.93, 45.9/ 14.2, 36.97, 4.30, 52.40, 4.36.09).
CAC Games bronze medallist Gretchen Quintana, 22, also improved her heptathlon best with a 5.945 point total.

The Champs are named after the late Aurelio Janet, who became the first Cuban to break the 80m mark in the Javelin (80.10) to qualify for the 1968 Olympic final in Mexico City.

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