Fiona May sends early warning to Sydney rivals in Rio
14 May 2000 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil A seasons world best by Italy's Fiona May in the women's long jump, a meeting record from Ukrainian Yelena Antonova in the discus throw with 66.67 metres, and easy wins for Brazilians Claudinei da Silva and Sanderlei Parrela, in the 200 and 400 metres respectively, were the highlights of the "Rio Grand Prix Brasil de Atletismo" on Sunday.
Sunshine and a temperature of approximately 27°C helped the Italian long jumper to produce one of her best performances ever. Jumping 7.09 (0.0) on her last attempt, Fiona May sent an early warning for her Sydney challengers in becoming the world leader with a performance only two centimetres off her Italian record, set at the European Championships in Budapest two years ago.
"I am really surprised by this performance during my first competition of the season, and I am happy I did it here far from home", the Italian said. "But I still have a lot of work to do if I want to win at the Olympic Games". As for her next competition, "It is not an athletics event - I am going to take part in the Italian Women's Golf Championships at the Parco dei Medici".
Still in the womens long jump, Brazilian Maurren Maggi produced an impressive performance with a jump of 6.93, her best result recorded at sea level, and the second best overall after last years 7.26m in altitude in Bogotà.
In the 200 metres, Claudinei da Silva, improved with 20.39 his seasonal best but this result is still far from the astonishing 19.89 which made him winner of the '99 IAAF Grand Prix Final in Munich.
"But I feel confident with the time", the "Pailista" sprinter said. "I expected a time around 20.60 because I am training very hard at this stage of the season: from here Ill be going to the Netherlands and my next race is the GPII in Hengelo Adriaan Paulen Memorial), 28 May.
Another Brazilian crossed the finish line with an easy win: Sanderlei Parrela clocked 45.00 seconds in the 400 metres. The same was true for South Africas Okkert Brits who won the pole vault with 5.80m.
More than 5,000 spectators watched the meet at the Célio De Barros Stadium, just next to the Famous "Maracana" soccer stadium.