Cienfuegos breaks Spanish hammer record again in Andujar

Javier Cienfuegos
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The headlines around the world will be grabbed by Yulimar Rojas’ massive 15.41m triple jump, the Venezuelan producing the second-best mark ever, but local athletics fans were thrilled by yet another Spanish hammer record from Javier Cienfurgos at the Memorial Francisco Ramón Higueras in Andujar on Saturday evening.

Cienfuegos, now 29, launched his implement out to 79.38m at the European Athletics Classic Permit Meeting for his fourth national record of 2019 and his third in 15 days.

His latest record-breaking performance was a 68cm improvement on his previous record set just last weekend at the Spanish championships in La Nucia

Cienfuegos got further and further with every round in Andujar, improving with every effort, throwing successively 74.48m 76.60m 77.52m 77.57m 78.10m before climaxing with his record 79.38m.

The former world U20 record holder moved up to third on the 2019 world time list, behind only the Polish pair of 2018 European champion Wojciech Nowicki and three-time defending world champion Pawel Fajdek. 

“The past week I’ve just been training for the world championships and building up a bit for them, to get there in good shape, and when I made the big throw it seemed so easy. Now, I need to carry on preparing and maybe I can get over 80 metres, maybe in Doha. But after the last few competitions I don’t see any limits now,” commented the delighted Cienfuegos.

He now knows that expectations will be high ahead of the IAAF World Championships Doha 2019, which start in less than three weeks’ time, especially considering his underwhelming big championships record which includes going to the last five European Athletics Championships but only once progressing from the qualifying competition. Nor has he made the final on any of his three previous trips to the world championships.

Behind Cienfuegos, his compatriot and 2019 European U23 champion Alberto Gonzalez also found the conditions in the Andalusian town to his liking as he improved by more than a metre, throwing 75.78m with his opening effort.

Gonzalez’s previous best of 74.36m came when winning the European U23 title in Gavle, Sweden in July.

Other impressive European performances in the penultimate European Athletics Classic Permit Meeting of the season also came in the field. Finland’s Kristian Pulli was the best in long jump with four jumps over 7.92m topped by a third round 7.98m while Portugal´s Francisco Belo won the shot put with a fourth-round effort of 20.65m.

On the track, Ukraine’s Serhiy Smelyk took the honours in the 200m in a season’s best of 20.39 (+0.2) while Spanish 400m hurdles record holder Sergio Fernandez won his specialist discipline in in 49.40 and there was also a home win for Jesus Gomez in the 1500 m in 3:37.10.