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ATHLETICS IN MADRID

 

Besides the Madrid Meeting other major international athletics events have been held in the capital of Spain which now finds itself ready to host the world's most important sporting event: the Olympic Games. These are some of those events:

1962: Ibero American Games

Between the 7th and 12th of October 1962, the Vallehermoso Stadium in Madrid hosted the highly successful II Ibero American Athletics Games due to the quality of the participants and large turnout of spectators in the stands. In the team competition Venezuela came out on top by one point ahead of Argentina and Spain, while Brazil dominated the women's events. Outstanding results from those Games included the sprint double of the Venezuelan Rafael Romero in 100m (10.6) and 200m (21.1), the victory of the Argentinean Juan Dyrzka with a time of 50.9 over 400 metre hurdles, the duel between the Spaniard Luis Felipe Areta and the Puerto Rican Rumildo Cruz in the triple jump, with victory going to the former with a jump of 15.07, but with Cruz winning the pole vault with 4.50m.

Women's events were also held, but without any Spanish participants, with highlights being the sprint double by the Cuban Miguelina Cobian in 100m (12.3) and 200m (25.3), as well as the high jump victory by the Brazilian Aida dos Santos (1.56m), the Brazilian Vera Trezotko in the shot put (12.84m) and the Chilean athlete Marlene Ahrens in the javelin (45.63m).

1968: European Indoor Championships

The next important international competition held in Madrid was in an indoor arena, more precisely the Madrid Sports Palace, which hosted the III European Indoor Championships on the 9th and 10th March 1968. The quality of the Madrid facility was shown by several world indoor records especially in the sprint events. The German Jobst Hirscht ran 5.7 in the 50m while the women's crown went to the Frenchwoman Sylvianne Tellez with a time of 6.2. The East German Karin Balzer and the Italian Eddy Ottoz were the best in 50 metre hurdles with new world records of 6.9 and 6.5.

Finally, the 400m was dominated by the Pole Andrej Badenski and the Soviet athlete Natalya Pechonkina with respective times of 47.0 and 55.2. Spain won five medals. Alberto Esteban in 800m, José María Morera in 1.500m and the 3 x1.000m relay won silver medals, while Luis Felipe Areta and the mixed relay won the bronze.

1981: World Cross Country Championships

The ninth World Cross Country Championships, the most important competition in this specialty, took place at the Zarzuela Racetrack, Madrid on the 28th of March 1981. Three exciting races were run, with the Ethiopians taking the lead role in the Senior Men's event, when they made the mistake of thinking they had finished the race when going into the last lap, a mistake which the American Craig Virgin took full advantage of by going on to collect the world title, while Antonio Prieto ran an exceptional race by finishing 5th.

In the women's event Grete Waitz was untouchable with Asunción Sinobas being the best placed Spanish athlete in 10th place. Finally, the Tunisian Mohammed won the Junior race with Abel Antón being the best placed Spaniard finishing 17th.

1986: European Indoor Championships

The best European athletics returned to Madrid with the XVII European Indoor Championships on the 22nd and 23rd of February 1986. With a sellout crowd, the events were of an extremely high quality with two new world records. The Soviet athlete Maris Bruzhiks leapt to 17.54m in the triple jump, improving the previous record of the American Charlie Simpkins by four centimeters. Meanwhile the Dutch woman, Nelli Cooman, became the sprint queen by dominating the 60m in a time of 7.00, four hundredths of a second faster than the previous record held by the German Marita Koch.

It was a successful Championships for Spain with two gold medals for José Luis Gónzalez in 1.500m and Javier Moracho in 60m hurdles, and three silver medals: José Alonso Valero in 400m, Colomán Trabado in 800m and José Luis Carreira in 1.500m.

2002: World Cup in Athletics

The last great outdoor competition held in Madrid was the World Cup, held on the 20th and 21st of September in the Stadium of Madrid, with the Africans being victorious in the men's category and Russia taking the women's title. Spain finished an unprecedented fifth in the men's team competition with the women finishing 8th. Individually there were great performances such as the 71.25m by the Hungarian Robert Fazekas in the discus, 3.31.20 by the Kenyan Bernard Lagat over 1.500m and the women's high jump with three women clearing 2 metres.

Spain registered two individual victories with Antonio Reina winning the 800m in a new Spanish record of 1.43.83 and Alberto García winning the 5.000m in 13.30.04.

2005: European Indoor Championships

Madrid laid out the red carpet to host the best European Indoor Championships to date. In the recently refurbished Sports Palace, sellout crowds each day witnessed three days of competition from the 4th to the 6th March.

Spanish athletics collected a record haul of medals (12) in this competition, in an unequalled overall team performance and where the Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva broke the world record with a jump of 4.90m, and the Swede Stefan Holm cleared 2.40m in the high jump. It was a tremendous end to a great championship.


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