Albi, FranceChristophe Lemaitre again broke the national and European Under 23 record in the 100m, clocking 9.92 on the second day (29) of the Fench national championships in Albi.
For the fourth time this year, the 21-year-old Frenchman broke the European U23 record that he's held since matching the 9.97 mark last year Dwain Chambers in 1999.
On Thursday Lemaitre gave a hint of his current form in performing a scorching 2nd leg in the 4x100m relay won by his Aix-les-Bains clubmates in 39.55. Although his coach Pierre Carraz warned that his pupil was may be tired form the accumulation of high level races this year, an extraordinary performance for the 100m was anticipated in the Stadium Municipal, under warm conditions and favourable winds. Lemaitre easily won his heat in 10.09 with +1.9 wind and lined up for the final exactly one hour later.
In lane five, Yannick Lesourd was the quickest to react to the gun (0.118). On his right side, Lemaitre (0.163) seemed to move slower but took the lead after 30 metres. Jimmy Vicaut, the outsider in the race since his European Junior triumph last week, kept contact for a couple of second before the tall Lemaitre opened his stride - measured at 2.78m - and flew away. Unchallenged during the last half of the race, he was only fighting against the clock and probably lost a few hundredths when leaning too soon at the finish. The board signalled 9.92, which made a roar wave through the crowd, as it was 0.03 faster than Lemaitre’s best. The speaker indicated the wind reading of 2.0m/s, the exact limit for a record ratification, and was able to announce that it was a new French record, the seventh in two years! Lemaitre, delighted, opened a victory lap and jumped on the pole vault mat to the cheers of the massive public.
“I felt great!” Lemaitre simply said as he was now escorted by officials into a press conference and the usual protocol of record ratification. “My start was only average and fortunately, I managed to make the difference in running very fast while staying relaxed. I know I have this time in my legs so I’m half-surprised. But today I achieved it thanks to excellent conditions so I will have to be able to do it again under normal conditions.”
His 9.92 ranks him ninth on the 2011 world lists and sixth currently among the athletes qualified for the upcoming World Championships in Daegu.
“My aim is to be a finalist and place in the top five. I’d like to barge into the world sprint’s hierarchy. Championships are very stimulating and always provide a lot for me.”
The World junior Champion at 200m in 2008, European junior champion at 100m in 2009, and first ever triple European champion (100m, 200m, 4x100m) in 2010, Lemaitre would like to add more gold medals to a faultless career so far.
“There are still lots of things to do,” warns his long-time coach, Pierre Carraz, 70. “Work, Work, Work. He has to improve his relaxation, his flexibility, his strength, etc. I thought he would run 9.92 last year, he did it finally today, and that’s good but in that race everyone ran fast.”
Jimmy Vicaut, second in 10.07 had mixed feelings after the race. “I have to work on my start, I’m tired of being left in the first steps. Because of fatigue and travels, I thought I would run 10.15, but when I saw 9.92 on the board, I was expecting a better time as I felt very close to Christophe.” Indeed, Vicaut, 19, had hoped to break the 10.04 national junior record set by his rival in 2009. “This time will be required to reach the semi finals in Daegu,” he anticipates. “As for sub 10 seconds, I think I’ll have to wait for next year.”
The third spot went to Martial Mbandjock in 10.17, who was satisfied with his race after being slowed in his preparations due to Achilles pains.
Zang Milama improves to 11.09
Ruddy Zang Milama, like Lemaitre also coached by Carraz, won the women’s 100m in 11.09, a new national record for Gabon.
“I was patient at the start because I know it’s my strong part,” explained the sprinter who shares training camps with Bahamian star Chandra Sturrup, a powerful sprinter herself who was in Albi to provide some help. “I waited to be upright to get relaxed and accelerate,” she continued. “I need to improve my reaction time (0.185) and my last 15 metres. I didn’t realise immediately that I broke my record (11.15) but this is a good thing before Daegu.”
Finishing second and third, Véronique Mang and Myriam Soumaré managed to set the French standard (11.18) for Daegu, in a race where seven out of eight clocked their lifetime bests, while the wind was measured at +1.4m/s. Mang, the silver medallist at the European Championships last year, matched her personal best of 11.11.
“My goal was to take the title and that’s good for my mental preparation to come to the World Championships with this time. This morning, I woke up and wrote this in a piece of paper. I’m blessed that my dream came true!”
Soumaré, third at European Champs at 100m and the winner in the 200m, improved her personal best by 0.01 (11.17).
“I knew I was going to run a fast time. The weather was great and the track fast. I ran my own race and was absolutely not paying attention to the other girls. I struggled a bit towards the end but the work will pay off in Daegu next month.”
Lemaitre will line up today (Saturday) in the 200m heats and finals with the aim to break another national record (20.16), while Soumaré has yet to decide whether she will run or will try to protect her Achilles tendons.
Barras takes Decathlon title, Sebrle nails Daegu standard
The Decathlon provided an interesting battle between European Champion Romain Barras and World Record holder Roman Sebrle. Both had their training season hampered by injuries and were looking for confidence in their last Decathlon before Daegu.
“I’m happy overall,” said the French star, who won with with 8117 points. “Especially about my 100m (11.14) and Javelin (65.65). On the other hand, I fouled my best long jumps and only managed 7.12m. In the Pole Vault the result is poor (4.60m) because ironically I’m in great shape. I changed my run-up this year and I was too fast to use such soft poles. Next time I will use a bigger one and this will propel me to new heights.”
For the Czech, the target was simply to set the qualifying standard, which he did thanks to a 8109 total.
“I’m very satisfied today. I got injured in Kladno (14 June) and delayed my participation in competitions until the last moment.” Invited Albi by Barras, it was a last chance for the 36-year-old. “I’m still healing and had to compromise here. For example I did only one attempt in the Long Jump (7.45m) to favour my left leg, which is my jumping leg for everything."
Sebrle’s presence was a good motivation for Barras “I have very good relationship with Roman, I come to compete in his country, then he comes to mine, that’s a good exchange!”
The women’s 100m Hurdles is always a highly contested event at the French championships, and this was once more the case this year. Sandra Gomis set a new personal best of 12.93 (w+1.0) to defeat favourite Cindy Billaud, the fastest in heats (12.93, +2.3). Third was Adrianna Lamalle (13.07) who returned after two knee surgeries.
Florian Carvalho, the U23 European champion, won a tactical 1500m in 3:54.35, while Maria Leonore Ribeiro-Tavares and Marion Lotout both cleared 4.50m in the Pole Vault.
Pierre Jean Vazel for the IAAF