Fermin Cacho gave the 25,000 crowd in Seville’s new Olympic Stadium their money’s worth as he sprinted home to win the 3000m here this evening in 7:37:02, totally eclipsing second-placed Kenyan Paul Bitok and marking the best performance of the year over the distance in the process.
Cacho’s performance was the culmination of an evening which had seen excellent performances by a number of Spanish athletes, including the smashing of the longest standing Spanish national record by Luis Miguel Martin in the 3000 steeplechase, with 8:11.18: bettering the previous mark by more than four seconds and his own personal best by no less than 10 seconds. Misoi Kipkirui of Kenya took second place with 8:12.09 and Paul Kosgei third in 8:12.86.
The relatively unknown Marina Bastos (POR), normally a 10,000m and half marathon specialist, was a revelation in the women’s 3000m, where the young Portuguese athlete finished well ahead of her compatriot, the Olympic champion Fernanda Ribeiro, clocking 8:38.13 to Ribeiro’s 8:39.82.
Another highlight of the evening, was the close battle in the men’s long jump, with local favourite Yago lamela and Jamaica’s James Beckford alternating the lead until the final attempt, when Beckford assured victory with a leap of 8.08: just one centimetre better than Lamela’s best.
There is no doubt that the Spanish athletes’ performances bode well for a thrilling world championship in August.
Other performances of note: Kathy Freeman (AUS) in the women’s 400m (51.06) and Kim Batten of the USA first in the 400m hurdles with 53.99, ahead of Deon Hemmings (JAM).