Portugal’s Auriol Dongmo provided the main highlight at the 16th Meeting Iberoamericano, a World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze meeting, thanks to a 19.75m shot put throw on Thursday (3).
The European indoor champion kicked off with a hesitant 18.60m toss in Huelva and improved to 19.32m in the second round before fouling her next two attempts. The fireworks came in the fifth round when the 30-year-old unleashed a 19.75m effort to set a career best by 10 centimetres, also a national record and a world-leading performance. The Cameroon-born ace closed her series of throws with a fine 19.23m. She didn’t find any opposition from the runner up, her fellow Portuguese thrower Eliana Bandeira (17.34m).
Bradshaw higher than ever outdoors
The second star of the event was the European pole vault bronze medallist Holly Bradshaw. The 29-year-old opened with an easy 4.50m clearance, then she needed two attempts to get over 4.64m but had convincing first-time clearances at both 4.75m and 4.82m for a national outdoor record. That performance moves Bradshaw, who cleared 4.87m indoors in 2012, to equal third on the world rankings.
The Rio Olympics fifth-placer then tried 4.88m but was unsuccessul in her three attempts. The in-form Italian Roberta Bruni had to settle for the runner-up spot on this occasion with a 4.64m clearance, the second ever best performance by the 27-year-old.
“It has been a pleasure to jump here,” said a delighted Bradshaw. “The competition has been incredible. We asked the organisers to change the pit to take advantage of the prevailing wind and they were accomodating. I’m really grateful.”
France’s Jimmy Gressier had planned to compete in Gothenburg the previous day but when he arrived in Sweden, authorities denied him entry as his negative PCR test had expired five hours before. Far from being discouraged, the European U23 5000m and 10,000m champion contacted the Huelva organisers for a place for the Meeting Iberoamericano 5000m in his hunt for the Olympic qualifier.
Paced by 2016 800m world indoor silver medallist Antoine Gakeme, Gressier reached the opening kilometres in 2:40.03, 5:16:04 and 7:57.95, outside the pace required to run inside the 13:13.50 Tokyo standard. He took the lead before 4000m (10:39.17) and from then on the brave Frenchman showed an impressive determination to build a sizeable margin over Germany’s Mohamed Mohumed and Eritrea’s Awet Habte. It only took Gressier 2:29.88 to cover the closing kilometre to romp home in a massive PB of 13:08.99, with Mohumed a distant second in a lifetime best of 13:21.21.
Dominicans prevail in the 400m
Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic continued her victorious Spanish tour to win again in her first ever sub-50-second clocking, running 49.99 to break the national record for the third time this season. Paulino remains undefeated this summer after nine competitions despite facing the stiff challenge from Portugal’s Catia Azevedo who destroyed her own 51.61 national record set last month by more than a second with 50.59. In the men’s race, the 21-year-old Alexander Ogando was an overwhelming winner, marginally outside the 45-second barrier but he improved on his career best with 45.01.
Kenya’s Rosefline Chepngetich proved to be the strongest in the women’s 3000m steeplechase. Following splits of 3:05.94 (1000m) and 6:15.59 (2000) she crossed the finish line in 9:24.19, while Britain’s Aimee Pratt managed a huge career best of 9:25.89 to get the Olympic standard. The same goes for Irene van der Reijken of the Netherlands, with a PB of 9:27.38. The men’s event was won by Eritrea’s Rio Olympics finalist Yemane Hailesilassie with a 8:17.12 clocking ahead of France’s Alexis Phelut with 8:19.35.
Barely two days after a fine win in Montreuil, Kenya’s Collins Kipruto stamped his authority in the men’s 800m thanks to a 1:45.43 performance while Spanish record holder Saul Ordonez came second in 1:45.88.
Elsewhere, Estonia’s Olympic finalist Rasmus Magi took the men’s 400m hurdles in a season’s best of 48.87, clearly ahead of France’s Ludvy Vaillant (49.49). Agate de Sousa of Sao Tome & Principe leapt an outdoor PB of 6.58m to win the women’s long jump ahead of Portugal’s Evelise Veiga (6.49m). The win in the women’s discus went to Portugal’s Liliana Ca thanks to a 63.71m last round release, while the 1500m events didn’t produce times as fast as expected, the victories going to Belgium’s Ismael Debjani with 3:36.71, marginally ahead of Portugal’s Isaac Nader with a PB of 3:37.01, and Kenya’s Edinah Jebitok in a lifetime best of 4:04.67, clearly ahead of Spain’s Marta Perez with 4:07.17. Norway’s Ingar Kiplesund was victorious in the men’s long jump thanks to a 7.79m fourth-round leap.
Emeterio Valiente for World Athletics