The 2013-2016 IAAF Strategic Plan has six Core Values: universality, leadership, unity, excellence, integrity and solidarity, and a Vision Statement: “To lead, govern and develop the sport of athletics in all its forms worldwide, uniting the Athletics Family in a spirit of excellence, integrity and solidarity.”
Hammer Thrower Pawel Fajdek with 81.39m, set the best performance of the 1st Episode of French’s Pro Athle Tour in Montreuil.
Before the rain started to fall, the Hammer Throw competition offered the spectators a thrilling scenario in this Paris’ suburb. Hungarian Krisztian Pars, winner in Ostrava two weeks ago with 82.28, took a serious option for victory as soon as his second attempt measured at 79.18. Pole Pawel Fajdek, his runner-up in Ostrava (80.36) for the first time of his career, immediately responded with 79.76 at his third attempt. The favourite replied with 80.22 which forced Fajdek to give his best. He did just that at his 6th trial, setting a massive 81.39 to place 3rd in the 2012 world Lists. The next one in to throw in the ring was Pars, whose last throw was far, but not enough (80.06) to change his second position.
"I’m very happy that’s a huge result for me", commented the 23-year-old Pole, coached by Czeslaw Cybulski. "I will now focus on my National Championships (16 June) but I will skip the European Championships in order to prepare for the Olympic Games, where I’ll have to throw ever further". At such a rate of improvement, the two metres that separate his personal best from the national record (83.38) might be soon reduced. Where does the margin lay?
Szymon Ziolkowski, who set this record 11 years ago and was 8th in Montreuil (73.10), might have an answer but won’t give away the information. "I will certainly not give him any advice!" he laughed. We have different coaches and we are opponents. But he is improving every year, last season he won the U23 European Champs as well as the University Games, he is a fierce competitor and will be one to watch at the Olympics for his first participation. So we will see…."
Murielle Ahouré, 24, will also take part to her first Olympics with high ambitions. The winner in Rome five days ago with new Ivory Cost national record (11.00), she came to Montreuil with the ambition to become the 71th sprinter to break that barrier. Unfortunately, elements went against her plans. A false start eliminated her training partner Laverne Jones-Ferrette. Now extra cautious in the starting-blocks, she was the second slowest to react to the gun (0.185). Yet she took an early lead in the race but the cool head-wind (-2.0) slowed her down to 11.32. It was still a clear win over Nigerian Gloria Asumnu (11.46) and Jamaican Sheri-Ann Brooks (11.49).
"I was delighted to run here, this is my first European season of my career", explained the 1.65m / 60kg Houston-based. "I grew up in Paris until 17 and it was with great pleasure and emotion that I went to see lots of member of my family earlier this week." Next stop for Ahouré will be Oslo on Thursday (7) before coming back to France for Lille meeting on Saturday (9).
The best female performance was the credit of Zahra Bouras, who won the 800m in 1:58.78, just 0.06 off legend Hassiba Boulmerka’s Algerian Record set in 1991. This was only the second race of the year for Bouras, after a lifetime debut at 1500m on Tursday in Hérouville where she placed third with 4:16.83. In Montreuil, Belarus Maryna Arzamasava (1:59.63) and Morrocan Malika Akkaoui (1:59.97) could do nothing against the Algerian’s powerful finish.
Unfavourable climatic conditions (rain and wind -1.0m/s) made Jeff Porter’s 13.35 at 110m Hurdles an impressive performance. It was actually a close race with British Lawrence Clarke who was declared 2nd in 13.36 after photo-finish exam.
"I was aiming to break my 13.26 but I can be happy with my time", judged the 1.83m / 84kg winner. "At least I’m healthy and able to do race quite a lot in competition in order to find the right rhythm. I can say I’m almost there, two more races and I’ll get ready for the US Trials".
Elsewhere, British Jack Green and Eilidh Child won the 400m Hurdles in 49.22 and 55.25, respectively. Their teammate Dwan Chambers was a deceived 2nd (10.48) in the 100m won by Jamaican Ainsley Waugh (10.47).