Yordani Garcia in action at the 2014 Pan American Combined Events Cup (© Brian Rouble / Stuttered Moments)
Cuba’s Yordanis Garcia and Canada’s Natasha Jackson took the top honours at the 3rd Pan-American Combined Events Cup at Ottawa’s Terry Fox Stadium on Friday (18).
Garcia successfully defended his 2013 title and moved to sixth place on the 2014 IAAF Combined Events Challenge standings while Jackson achieved her first international victory.
A comfortable leader after the first day, Garcia extended his lead on the second day and scored 8179 points, a meeting record, 33 points more than his 2013 total.
His teammate and 2012 champion Jose Mendieta was a distant second with 7559 while James Turner scored a personal best of 7408 to win bronze and the national title as the event also served as the Canadian Combined Events Championships.
Canada’s world bronze medallist Damian Warner stopped after four events as he prepares for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.
“I am happy with my win, but I wanted a higher total," said Garcia. "I am happy with several events, including the 400m and the javelin, but underperformed in the discus and the 110 hurdles. Every decathlon is a lesson. I will go back and prepare for my next meeting in Talence in September."
In the heptathlon, Jackson set three personal bests in the shot put, long jump and 800m and led the 100m hurdles with a windy 13.43 to total 5928, a huge personal best by almost 200 points.
“I was overall amazed with how everything went," said Jackson. "I have a ton of support from a lot of people. This win is very encouraging, especially after having surgery last year."
She plans to complete her last heptathlon of the year in the Netherlands at the end of August.
USA’s Lindsay Schwartz, third 12 months ago, improved to silver this time with 5835 to finish ahead of Canada’s Rachael McIntosh, who was third with 5763.
Two of the favourites, Cuba’s 2011 world youth champion Yosleidys Mendieta and 2013 South American silver medallist Ana Pirelli of Paraguay, were relegated to seventh and eighth respectively.
Jillian Drouin, the older sister of Olympic high jump bronze medallist Derek Drouin, actually scored the highest total with 5972 points, a personal best, to win the Canadian title although she was not part of the Canadian team and so her score didn’t count in the cup.
The Cuban men and the Canadian women took the team honours after adding the totals of their top two athletes.
Hosted by the Ottawa Lions, Canada’s largest athletics club, the continental event is an annual fixture of the Association of Pan-American Athletics.
This year saw 94 youth, junior and senior athletes from 10 countries competing in the cup.
Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF