18 FEB 2007 General News Aubière, France

Tahri and Pognon on target for Europeans - French Indoor Champs, Day 2

Ronald Pognon of France in action in the men's 60m first round heats (Getty Images)Ronald Pognon of France in action in the men's 60m first round heats (Getty Images) © Copyright

  The second day of the French Indoor Championships (Sat 17) provided no surprises as the favourites Bouabdellah Tahri and Ronald Pognon (current European season best performers at 3000m and 60m, respectively) easily won their titles, and confirmed their amibitions for the European Indoor Championships in Birmingham, 2 - 4 March 2007.

As planned for Tahri 

Tahri, who clocked a fast 3000m time early this month (7:38.41, national record), was looking for a typical championship race yesterday in order to sharpen his speed. A last 400m in around 58sec was enough to leave Frederic Denis (7:55.22) for a clear victory (7:54.64).

“My plan was to stay in the pack for the first two kilometres and accelerate progressively, because that’s the kind of race the European Indoor Championships will provide,” explained Tahri, the former European record holder for the 3000m Steeplechase.

Third title for Pognon

European record holder (6.45 two years ago) Ronald Pognon won his third consecutive 60m national title. The 24-year-old sprinter had a good reaction to the gun (0.132) but Emmanuel Ngom Priso (Cameroon) was the quickest out of the blocks.

At the midway point, Pognon went from 4th place to take the lead within a few steps and crossed the finish line in relaxed style in 6.60 seconds, a time which was later corrected to 6.62 (50m intermediate time was 5.73).

“I wasn’t happy with my start, which was okay during the preliminary rounds, I felt it wasn’t a good race but the time is still not bad”, says the Frenchman who shares the fastest European time of the season with Briton Craig Pickering (6.55).

Ngom Priso took second place with 6.69, close to the personal best he set in the semi final (6.67, and 5.77 at 50m).

Boslak in fine form 

Pole Vaulter Vanessa Boslak had three unsuccessful attempts at 4.66m, one centimetre over her national record, however the 4.50 bar she passed successfully over on her second attempt confirmed her current fine form. Boslak said that she is still trying to fix technical problems which are the reason for her erratic results so far. She jumped 4.30m on 2 February, and gained 0.30m the following day. Fifth at 2006 World Indoor Championships, but injured most of the summer, Boslak might be ready for the Euro Indoors in Birmigham in two weeks time.

Speedy Korzeniowska

Sylwia Korzeniowska, sister of the legendary Polish walker, took the 3000m walk in 12:27.36, the fastest time in the World for 2007. 

Tired Hurtis sidelined; Maazouzi injured 

The women’s 60m was a most highly contested race as the seven fastest sprinters qualified for the final with times within a one tenth range. Carima Louami, 7.34 in semi-final, couldn’t overcome a poor reaction time (0.190) as she place second in the final only a few thousandths of a second behind Sylviane Félix (7.38 for both). Favourite Muriel Hurtis–Houairi, 7.38 in heats, couldn't start in final due to poor form : “I had a flu and a sinusitis last week, and today I simply had no energy left to take part in the third race of the afternoon.”

2000 Olympic 1500m champion, Nouria Benida from Algeria had no rival in Aubiere as she won her race by five seconds (4:21.84), unlike in the men’s 1500m, where Mounir Yemmouni was just pipped in the last metres by Abdelkader Bakhtache (3:45.77) who took the French title. Driss Maazouzi pulled out in the last 200m with a calf injury. 

Other notable results came from the Triple Jump with Karl Taillepierre winning in 16.64m from World Junior champion Benjamin Compaoré 16.58, while Gaetan Bucki qualified with the longest Shot Put by 2m (19.41) for Sunday‘s final (18).

P-J Vazel for the IAAF

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