Two years before the Paris Olympics, the elite of French athletics wants to make its mark. The Worlds will be played from Friday, July 15 to 24 in Eugene, Oregon, and several Tricolores could do well. After a mediocre Tokyo Games, where only Kevin Mayer returned as a medalist, the French team plans to get back to work. Between multi-medal champions, high potentials and young shooters determined to take a place on the podium, franceinfo: sport assesses the workforce.
Quentin Bigot, Spring Bloom
In athletics, some barriers are symbolic. Quentin Bigot, 2019 vice world champion, exploded one by throwing his hammer over 80 meters in Forbach (80.14 meters) on May 29. In the process, the Messin followed that up with another high-flying competition by breaking his personal best to 80.55 meters in Chorzow, Poland on June 5. These achievements make him one of the favorites of the Eugene Worlds.
Along the way, two major pieces could thwart his plans: the Polish world champion Pawel Fajdek and his compatriot Olympic champion Wojciech Nowicki. The two men already defeated Quentin Bigot at the Diamond League in Paris this year. A match where the Habs had appeared hesitant (78.12 m) and where his competition was laced with bubbles (when the hammer ends its course in the nets of the cage, synonymous with 0 points). The fact remains that the Frenchman manages to surpass himself in the championship, having placed an unexpected 5th place in Tokyo last summer. What should tickle Gilles Dupray’s French record (82.38 metres)?
Kevin Mayer’s 10 Works
Like Ulysses, Kevin Mayer’s odyssey is a river story, interspersed with (very) beautiful battles and holy glitches. If we resume the soap where it is, the Olympic vice-champion has been reduced by an inflammation of the Achilles tendon which, combined with the Covid-19 contracted in January, cost him a good part of the winter season (dead end in Indoor World’s). The Habs were still at a slow trot at the start of the summer: stalemate at the French Elite Championship, no decathlon ended this year. The world record holder has just passed a header in the Paris Diamond League, jumping 7m38 in length and 15m61 in weight (forfeited in the 110m hurdles for not working out in training). far from him better performance.
Despite this shortened year, “Keke la ember”, Hercules in Tokyo despite a loose back, does not have to fight for the minimums. Qualified by in his Tokyo standings, all the Frenchman had to do was focus on preparing for the Eugene Worlds. Kevin Mayer is very autonomous in his project and has also reorganized his staff, breaking away from his lifelong physical trainer, Jérôme Simian, who has been accompanying him since 2013.
— Kevin MAYER (@mayer_deca) March 7, 2022
In Eugene, the world record holder will act as… challenger. The board is lifted. Between the Canadian Damian Warner, the Americans Garrett Scantling and Kyle Garland or the young Ashley Moloney, they are all approaching 9,000 points, the holy grail of the decathlon. “I have never seen such a level! It’s unbelievable what’s happening (…) Me, I just shouldn’t arrive injured and I see myself as a challenger to get the gold medal” explained the athlete in the columns of The team. The Frenchman, who has just turned 30, has not passed the 9,000 point mark since 2018, in Talence, when he won the world record (9126 points).
Renelle Lamote, the wheel is turning…
To lead this French team, the double European vice-champion of the 800 meters, Rénelle Lamote, is among the headliners. Multiple medalist in the Diamond League this season, she achieved the minimum in Rome in early June, following in the wake of the Olympic champion and big favorite of these worlds, Athing Mu (1’58”48). At Caen, the double lap specialist also retained her national title with the cannon time of 1’58”71 at the end of an explosive race.
But the course of Rénelle Lamote in the big championships is a thwarted story. In three world championships and two Olympics, the young woman has only played one final, even though her world ranking gave her hopes for a medal.
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Cyrena Samba-Mayela, confirmation in the legs
Crowned world champion this winter, we saw her overwhelmed with emotion in Belgrade (Serbia) after her victory in the 60m hurdles. Cyrena Samba-Mayela became the fourth French woman to win the world indoor title after Marie-Pierre Duros (1991), Muriel Hurtis (2003) and Eloyse Lesueur (2014).
At 21, the resident of the metropolis athletics of Lille enters the Eugene World Championships with his newfound status as leader, but with a certain lack of experience. sOn the straight line of the 100-meter hurdles, the Frenchwoman faces formidable competition, while the best in the world were absent in Serbia. Although she has passed a milestone in half a season, the young woman is still in a learning phase, having played only three Diamond League meetings in her entire career. In Paris, she set a convincing time in 12:76 to take fourth place in a race won by Nigerian Tobi Amusan (12:41). The young woman seeks affirmation.
Sasha Zhoya and Just Kwaou Mathey, the american dream
The phenomenon Sasha Zhoya, 20, could also shine. The peroxide-haired prodigy ran his 110m hurdles in 13”17 at the French Championships in Caen, the 6th best tricolor performance of all time. What to pass a course after experiencing several physical disappointments this season (cramps, meniscus tear).
At the Eugene Worlds, the French-Australian knows he’s under scrutiny. Junior world champion and world record holder in the category (12’72 over 0.99m hurdles, against 1.06m for seniors), Sasha Zhoya arouses curiosity and looks like an outsider. The young man might surprise because his progress is exponential, he who improved his record by three tenths in a month.
He won’t be the only youngster diving into the deep end for his first worlds. At the age of 22, Just Kwaou-Mathey will also compete in the 110m hurdles. In Charlety, the Norman broke his record (13”27) to secure a prestigious third place.
Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, the infallible
If the young guard wants to shine, Pascal Martinot-Lagarde is far from hanging up the crampons. At 30, the hurdler, 4th in Tokyo, has recovered from a right calf injury and is experiencing a season of ups and downs. Uncertain until the last minute in the Diamond League in Paris, “PML” finished his race in 13:55. Not his best time, but enough to stretch his legs and reassure himself on the tartan.
The French record holder in the 110 meter hurdles (12″95) has a track.is regular in slow seasons at first, but formidable once launched. In 2018 he got pubalgia, in 2019 mononucleosis, after which he developed several physical problems. However, in those same years, PML built one of the best records in French athletics. Three-time vice world indoor champion (2014, 2016, 2022), European champion in 2018 and bronze medalist at the Doha Worlds in 2019, Pascal Martinot-Lagarde knows how to sublimate himself when the time is right. His left hamstring isn’t in great shape, but you’d almost take that as a good sign…