Cuba's Menendez talks about her Javelin victory

Campaign News | Monday, 15 August 2005

Interview with world champion and record holder as Cuba finishes fourth in medals table

Menendez’s World record in her own words

Sunday 14 August 2005

Helsinki, Finland - This evening we witnessed simply the greatest ever competition since the new specification women’s Javelin came into use on 1 January 1999 (first World record 31.12.99).

Osleidys Menendez of Cuba, the champion of 2001 and of course last season’s Olympic winner, was the victor improving her World record (71.54) to 71.70 with her first throw.

But if we believed that bolt had killed interest in this final, then we were to be happily mistaken, as in the next round Germany’s 23-year-old Christina Obergföll responded with 70.03m. That marked an astonishing improvement for the athlete who had not qualified for the final in Athens and had a personal best coming into tonight of just 64.59m!

It was of course the first ever duel over 70m with this spear, and the German became the second farthest thrower of all-time behind Menendez.

The crowd also rose to applaud a season’s best for Finnish record holder Paula Tarvainen (6th - 62.64), a personal best for Italy’s Zahra Bani (5th 62.75), and a national record for Denmark’s Christina Scherwin (63.43), while Sonia Bisset of Cuba with 61.75 in seventh, completed a deep competition over 61m.

It seemed appropriate that we let Menendez describe her World record night -

“I came to win and the (World) record came out. Thank God that I broke the World record because tonight they (my opponents) were chasing me.”

And what about the German?

“She was really impressive, as she only had 64 (personal best), and so she improved by six metres and impressed everybody but she didn’t have the ability to catch me.”

What was your strategy?

“Every time I go out on the track I try to do my best on the first throw. I cannot waste time and wait for the final rounds to win the gold medal. I try to start fast and hard.”

What were your thoughts when you saw the World record appear on the scoreboard?

“I was very happy of course but I had to realise that the competition was not over yet.”

“The competition was very hard. Probably the hardest competition I have ever had since I started javelin throwing. I just had to keep my control after the first throw and not let my motivation sag. Thankfully the German’s response helped me to keep motivated. I was never really out of focus.”

So what made the competition so hard?

“I felt some pain in my left leg, and that was a concern for me, as well as the quality of my opponents.”

And the weather? You had said at the Grand Prix meeting (25 July) here that you were concerned about the cold conditions.

“I thank God that he helped us. Only three days ago the conditions were very bad but the qualification and today went well.”

So will you now celebrate?

“No, the season is not over yet. I’ll try to heal my leg, and compete more.”

Your second World title, how does the feeling compare?

“I was of course younger then but the competition was easier in Edmonton, and like today I set the championships record (for the new spear).”

What about the Cuban team success in Helsinki?

“This is one of the best overall performances achieved by the Cuban team (2 golds and 4 silvers), and I didn’t even know about the silver in the men’s High Jump until just now. Paris (2003) was very bad but just like in Edmonton (2001) this was a phenomenal performance here in Helsinki.”

Chris Turner for the IAAF

Cuba, Leader for the Caribbean in World Athletics Championships

Helsinki, Aug 15 (Prensa Latina) Cuba came out leader of the Latin American and Caribbean region when it won six medals, two of them gold, at the Tenth World Athletics Championships in this capital.

Cubans came fourth overall, with golds won by Zulia Calatayud in the 800 meters, and the javelin thrower Osleidys Menendez who also set a new world record with 71.70 meters, one of three established in Helsinki.

Silver medals were won by longjumpers Yargelis Savigne and Yoandri Betanzos, Yipsi Moreno with hammer, and highjumper Victor Moya, who is the first Cuban to win a medal in this event since Javier Sotomayor's retirement.

Another country with outstanding performances was Jamaica, with eight medals - one gold for Trecia Smith in triple jump, five silver and one bronze - to place this island ninth overall.

Jamaicans also were outstanding in the relays, with two second places for the female quartets, third in the 4 x 400 meters, and a fourth in the 4 x 100 for the men.

Bahamas won one gold with Tonique Williams (400 meters) and one silver in the men?s 4 x 400 relay, an achievement matched by Trinidad and Tobago in the men?s 4 x 100.

Ecuador ended with one gold for Jefferson Perezin in the 20 km, and Mexico won bronze with Ana Gabriela Guevara, to finalise the Latin American results in this world championship.

The United States was first overall, winning twice as many medals as Russia, whose main strength was in its women, who won 14 of the 20 medals won by that country.

From the BBC

Cuba's Osleidys Menendez broke her own world record to reclaim the world javelin title in style in Helsinki.

The Cuban Olympic champion landed 71.70m at her very first attempt to beat her old mark by 16cm.

Germany's Christina Obergfoll took silver when she also surpassed 70m with her second throw of 70.03m, which was also a European record

Cuba's Calatayud wins gold in women's 800m

Helsinki 8 Aug: Cuba's Zulia Calatayud captured the title of the women's 800 meters at the 10th world championships on Tuesday in Helsinki.

The 26-year-old produced a surprise coming off the final bend to claim gold in devastating fashion. She then stormed home to win in a time of one minute 58.82 seconds. Morocco's Hasna Benhassi was second in 1:59.42 and Russia's Tatyana Andrianova won the third in 1:59.60.

Calatayud had never achieved good results in the world championships or the Olympic Games. Her best result in the two big events came from the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, where she took the sixth place.

"I have had injuries which took lengthy rehabilitation. I am thankful that I am healthy and able to run well again," Calatayud said.

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