Arles, FranceFrench combined events specialists Nadir El Fassi and Blandine Maisonnier emerged as final winners at the Arles IAAF Combined Events Challenge meeting on Sunday (8) in a competition dominated by local athletes in an important selection event for the French Federation for the European Cup for Combined Events in Hengelo.
El Fassi scored 8123 points thanks to new PBs in the 110m Hurdles and the Pole Vault but unfortunately the score will not be ratified for statistical purposes because the tailwind blew too strongly in the 100m (+8.9 m/s) and in the Long Jump (+5.8 m/s). Maisonnier, a 22-year-old athlete, tallied a winning score of 6157 points after strong performances in the High Jump (new PB 1.80m) and in the Long Jump (6.44m).
Franck Logel from France managed to defend his lead by only 5 five points (5042 to 5037) at the start of the second day with his 14.73 (tailwind +2.1 m/s) over his compatriot El Fassi who clocked 14.55. Romain Barras set the fastest time in the 110m Hurdles running 14.25 (tailwind +1.7 m/s), a result which moved him into overall third place with 4995 points.
The overall ranking remained unchanged after the Discus Throw. Logel finished third with a 43.11m throw, a new PB, behind Uzbekistan’s Vitaliy Smirnov’s 44.03m and Romain Barras’ 43.23m and increased his lead over El Fassi to 42 points (5770 to 5728).
Both Logel and Barras vaulted 4.95m (895 points) in the Pole Vault. Thanks to this result Barras managed to overhaul El Fassi (4.85m) and took second place 45 points behind Logel (6665 to 6620).
Barras usually emerges producing strong performances during the second day. The Decathlon specialist from the northern french town of Calais won the Javelin Throw with 60.56m beating El Fassi (60.42m). Thanks to these results Barras went to the top of the ranking after nine events with 7366 points to El Fassi’s 7337 points. Logel lost points in the javelin (49.48m) fading to third place with 7246 points.
El Fassi ran a strong 1500m (4:23.60) to take the final win with a wind-assisted score of 8123 points in a crucial competion for French athletes to make the team for the European Cup of Combined Events in Hengelo
“I felt good in all events but I am particularly happy with my new PBs in the 110m Hurdles and the Pole Vault,” said El Fassi. “I hope to qualify for Bejing in the European Cup in Hengelo. If I can’t do it at the European Cup I will try again in another competition.”
Day one revelation Blandine Maisonnier showed again her very good form jumping 6.44m (986 points; tailwind +3.0 m/s) which propelled her into a surprising first place in the overall ranking with 4615 points. Canadian Jessica Zelinka, the leader after the first day, did not score a valid jump and was out of the fight for major places. Another Canadian Susan Coltman took overall second place with 4389 points thanks to her 5.99m jump. Dutch Laurien Hoos kept her third place after her 5.74m jump.
The Javelin shook up the overall ranking producing a major change in the first positions. Hoos, a former European under 23 champion, speared the javelin over the 50m barrier producing a solid 51.76m (894 points) in one of her strongest events, a performance which moved her into first by 29 points over Maisonnier who did not throw further than 37.64m. With one event to go Hoos led 5266 to 5237. Coltman continued to be in the fight for the top three places with 5060 points.
The result remained undecided until the final event. Maisonnier, who lost first place to Hoos after the javelin, ran a good 800m where she finished second in 2:13.06 behind Rebecca Wardell from New Zealand who ended the competition on a high note winning the two-lap event in 2:10.00, clinching third place with 5940 points. Hoos, who ran 2:29.85 in the 800m, ended up in second with 5961 points.
Maisonnier, sixth at the European Under 23 Championships in Debrecen last year, scored a new PB with 6157 points. She improved her PBs in the high jump (1.80) and the 100 metres hurdles (13.64).
“I scored a new PB but I still need to qualify for the Olympic Games in Bejing at the European Cup in Hengelo at the end of June”, said Maisonnier. “The French Federation requires 6200 points to qualify for Bejing. I tried to run 2:10 in the 800 metres but I was not able to do it.”
The young French athlete, just 22, hails from Lille but studies engineering at Lyon University with a specialisation in energy and environment. She spent some years of her life in Senegal, where her father moved for his job.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF