Rodriguez and Garcia take Pan American Combined Events Cup

Ottawa. – Cuba’s defending champion Yorgelis Rodriguez and Yordani Garcia took the top honours of the 2nd Pan American Combined Events Cup, which draws athletes from 12 countries at Ottawa’s Terry Fox Athletic Facility.

Jennifer Cotten and Ottawa Lions’ Patrick Arbour were Canada’s top ranked athletes in sixth and tenth, respectively.

The overnight leaders kept their lead on the second day. World Junior champion Rodriguez totalled 5947 and Garcia 8141points, both meet records.

Paraguay’s Ana Pirelli Cubas improved her national record to take silver in 5683, ahead of USA’s Lindsay Schwartz (5645). Second after the first day, 2011 World Youth Champion Yusleidys Mendieta had a slow 800m and was relegated to fourth with 5560.

Garcia started Sunday with a 116-point lead over USA’s Gray Horn and increased it by dominating the Pole Vault with 4.80. Mendieta dominated the Javelin with 14 meters more than Horn to move up to second place. He held that position in the 1500m and scored 7766 points to make it 1-2 for Cuba. Horn rounded up the podium with 7581.

“I am happy with the way I competed. I wanted a higher score, but the weather did not cooperate and could not perform well in my strongest events on the second day. I hope to compete next at (the IAAF Combined Events Challenge) event in Ratingen, Germany later in June and reach the A Standard (8200) for the World Championships in Moscow,” Garcia said.

“I am especially happy with my Long Jump and came close to my PB in the Pole Vault. Now in my third Olympic cycle I need to work on the most technical events,” said Garcia, who dedicated his win to his 14-month daughter Fabianys.

The two-time Olympian won the 2009 NACAC Championships in Havana with a still standing personal best of 8496.

Patrick Arbour threw the best result in the Discus on Sunday and moved up from tenth to seventh overall with his second highest score ever (7183), due mainly to the farthest Discus throw of the day (46.42).

“I have two other international competitions this year. Any time that I get to compete with Canada on my chest I use it as a building experience for bigger competitions. I want to be competitive. I don’t want to be just one of the best in Canada. I want to compete against these guys more regularly. I see them as my motivation and having my experience against these guys makes it more motivating for next time I get to do it Russia,” commented Arbour.

“You spend two guys with these guys. There is really like a brotherhood.  You get through the events with them. To finish a Decathlon with someone, it is a feeling you can’t really explain. It is like a team sport. It is really great to start and finish with people. For two days you get to know them really well. They become your friends,” added the Ottawa Lions athlete, who will next compete at the Nationals in Moncton June 20-21, before representing Canada at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia, in July.

In the Heptathlon, 2012 World Junior champion Yorgelis Rodriguez never had her lead threatened and won comfortably with more than 250 points ahead of her closest rival.

“I am happy with the victory but I expected more after a good first day. I had a poor Long Jump and I could not perform well in the Javelin. I do not blame the weather, although it was a factor in the Long Jump.  I am especially happy with my performance in the 100m Hurdles. I learn in every Heptathlon and I will continue to prepare for the World Championships in Moscow,” commented 18-year old Rodriguez.

Jennifer Cotten produced the best Long Jump of the day and finished sixth overall with 5379 points, one place ahead of Canadian Interuniversity indoor champion Rachael McIntosh (5307). In only her third Heptathlon, Rachel Machin totalled 5285 to finish ninth.

“In the hurdles, I started off OK, hit a hurdle and did not what I wanted. That was the story for the whole meet. Not quite what I wanted. Now I am looking forward to Nationals. The weather was not too bad. I am usually pretty good at accepting it and moving on. I was or pleased with my hurdles despite the time,” said Cotten, who won the Pan American Cup bronze medal here in 2012.

By adding the total of the best two athletes in both the Decathlon and Heptathlon, Cuba lifted Pan American Cup as the best country overall. The Mayor of the City of Ottawa, Jim Watson, attended the closing and awards ceremony.

Organized by the Association of Pan American Athletics (APA) Athletics Canada and Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club, the Pan American Combined Events Cup is viewed by many federations as a great opportunity to develop up and coming athletes in the current cycle leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

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