Teresa Nzola Meso Ba (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Bordeaux, France

French Indoor Champs - Day One REPORT

Female jumpers will star in the French National Championships which take place this week-end in the Stadium Vélodrome de Bordeaux Lac, as, curiously, Teresa Nzola Meso Ba (Triple Jump), Eloïse Lesueur (Long Jump) and Vanessa Boslak (Pole Vault) all are currently 6th in World Lists in their respective events.

In the last stage of their preparation for the World Indoor Championships in Valencia (March 7-9), Nzola Meso Ba will double Long Jump and Triple Jump in Bordeaux, while Lesueur will focus on the 60m, facing specialists Christine Arron and Muriel Hurtis. Boslak, however, announced that she won’t compete in Spain in order to have more time to prepare the Beijing Olympic Games.

Long and Triple for Nzola

Two days after improving her own National Indoor record to 14.53m in Athens, Triple Jumper Teresa Nzola Meso Ba took part in the Long Jump qualifications. With limited performance ambitions, the 24-year-old explained that this event serves as a training for her favourite event.

“I need Long Jump to work on my landing phase and various minor details which will be transferable into the triple jump.”

She used the same strategy last year when she suddenly made a breakthrough into world class with a bronze medal at the European Indoor Championships and a 14.69m win at the SPAR European Cup.

Unfortunately, she twisted her ankle while long jumping a few weeks before the Osaka World Champs, and couldn’t recover in time to reach the Triple Jump final.

“I have a slight fear to long jump since my injury, but I’m here to overcome it,” she adds. Under the close supervision of her coach Zoran Denoix, she managed to qualify for Saturday’s final with a 6.02m jump.

The Triple Jump qualification will be held in the morning, with the final scheduled on Sunday. “This is a tough week-end,” she admits, “as I’m still very tired from my travel in Greece. There, I took part to one of the best quality competition I ever had, with the top three (including herself) breaking their own National Records (Slovenian Record for Marija Sestak, 15.08m and Greek Record for Hrisopiyi Devetzi, 14.89m).

“I came there to face the World Best, now I’m glad to meet my fellow countrywomen during these National Champs, it’s like a family.” Favourite for the title is Multi-Event specialist Marie Collonvillé, as Eloïse Lesueur, new National Record holder with 6.84m, will line up in the 60m.

Lesueur takes on experienced duo at 60m

Lesueur, the new jewel of French athletics, added 3cm to an old national mark set when she wasn’t born yet, by Nadine Debois in 1986. With 6.64m and 6.84m in January in a USA tour, followed by a second place with 6.62m in Karlsruhe, the 19-year-old entered a new level in 2008, well above her 6.47m best from last year.

In order to make the jumper recover, her coach Renaud Longuèvre chose to register her in the 60m instead, where she lowered her personal best from 7.62 to 7.36. Standing 1.81m, she will have to continue her amazing progression in order to rival with Christine Arron and Muriel Hurtis-Houairi, who are yet to show their best form this winter with 7.28 and 7.31 season bests, respectively.

Vanessa Boslak had no trouble to qualify for Saturday’s Pole Vault final with a 4.10m clearance, her only jump of the day. Currently in great shape, she was only 5cm off her National Record of 4.60m two weeks ago.

Fifth at the Osaka World Champs with 4.70m last summer, she has legitimate medal goals for the Olympics and has announced she won’t take part in the World Indoor Championships.

“I have a lot of things to improve so I can’t lose time now, my sole target this year are the Olympics.”

Men will also have their say, with the ambition to establish National leaderships. In the Pole Vault, Osaka silver medallist Romain Mesnil will face Jerome Clavier, currently 3rd in the World Lists with his 5.80m jump.

The 1500m final tomorrow promises to be a tough race with Valencia qualification as a challenge, since three athletes (Mounir Yemmouni, Guillaume Eraud and Yoann Kowall) have achieved the qualification standard for only two spots available.

Yemmouni easely won his heat in 3:50.05 with a 57.2 last lap.

“I needed to test my rhythm and speed as a warm-up for tomorrow, hence I did some accelerations in the last two laps,” explains the self-coached runner. “I have no planned tactic for the final, because every time I plan a strategy, something else always happens as soon as the gun fires.”

Pierre-Jean Vazel for the IAAF