Cuba tops Athletic Championships in Cali, Colombia

Cuban long jumper Wilfredo Martinez flew to 8.31m to capture the gold and set a new championship record in what was considered the most outstanding performance of day three. The 23-year-old jumper, eighth at the 2008 World Indoor Championships, took the lead on his first jump (7.93), then had a foul, to finally record 8.31 – a PB – in round three. Martinez became the first Cuban to win this title since legend Ivan Pedroso accomplished the feat in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1997.

Cuban 20-year-old Andy Gonzalez took the gold of the 800m in Cali with 1:46.11. Gonzalez, who this season has already collected the Ibero American title in Iquique, Chile, set a Championship record erasing the1:46.51 mark set by compatriot Norberto Tellez in 2001. The Cuban runner, with a PB of 1:45.3 set on 13 March in Havana, beat Venezuelan Eduard Villanueva (1:46.92) and Mexican Pablo Solares (1:47.18).

The hammer throw gold went to 27 year-old Candice Scott from Trinidad and Tobago's with a 69.26 toss – a new Championship record – ahead of 2004 Olympic bronze medallist, Cuban Yunaika Crawford who managed 69.03.Colombian Eli Johana Moreno completed the podium with 67.09.

Meanwhile, Cuban 200m runner Roxana Diaz finished second with a time of 22.82, behind Bahamas' Debbie Ferguson, 2001 World champion and 2004 Olympic bronze medallist at 200m, who covered the distance in 22.78 minutes under a heavy rain. In third place finished Colombian Darlenys Obregon with 23.13.

Both 4×400 relay races were taken by Cuba, although the male victory was more valuable. The women's team, already in the top list which qualifies for the Beijing Olympic Games, obtained the first place in 3:27.97. The men's ran 3:02.10, a time that should place them among the 16 top nations in the world, which would enable the Caribbean nation to compete at the Beijing. The remarkable victory was obtained by William Collazo, Yunier Perez, Omar Cisneros and Yeimer Lopez.

Havana, Cuba shall host in 2009 the next edition of the CAC Championships, which will return to be staged every two years. The next CAC Junior Championships, also to be contested biennially from this point, will be in 2010 in the Dominican Republic.