Paris, FranceA pair of World Records were threatened on Friday night with Steve Hooker narrowly missing 6.16m in the Pole Vault and Teddy Tamgho flying far in the Triple Jump to highlight the at the 3rd edition of the “Meeting SEAT” in Paris.
Hooker, Australia’s Olympic champion, continued his impressive series of jumps over six metres. Having started his season with two Oceania records - 6.01 in New York and 6.06 in Boston - Hooker came to Paris with even higher intentions to again challenge the legendary 6.15m World Record set by Sergey Bubka in 1994.
Despite travel fatigue, Hooker pleased with 6.16 attempts
Indeed, after two warm-up jumps at 5.62m and 5.87m, cleared at his first tries, the powerful Hooker asked for 6.00m. Having arrived in Europe just a few days ago, he admitted lacking some freshness.
“It’s only six days since Boston and I had lots of travel, so I’m pretty sore,” he said.
He needed three attempts to clear over 6.00, and then asked for the bar to be raised directly to a would-be World record 6.16.
“At my first attempt, I went through and did not jump. For the second one, it wasn’t a good jump I was tired from the first one. Then I was very pleased with my last one. I felt really good. Hopefully I will be fresher within a few days.”
Hooker is now set to go to Pole Vault Stars meeting in Donetsk on Sunday, organised by Bubka himself, on the site of the 6.15m record and then to Stockholm (18).
“It would be cool to jump higher in Donetsk in front of Sergey. It’s going amazingly well this year so I will try to break the World record whenever I compete, instead of trying to break my personal best. It’s lots more fun. It’s going amazingly well this year, and I think the record may fall within two years.”
Triple jumping teenager Tamgho improves to 17.58m –‘I think I have World record potential’
For local fans, Tamgho, the new French sensation, made the show in Bercy. He drew attention to himself in Mondeville (31-Jan) in his for his season debut with a 17.37m leap, a new U-23 age group World best. His next competition was keenly anticipated as he cancelled his participation in Eaubonne (6-Feb) to focus squarely on Bercy.
Wearing a flashy yellow bodysuit, the 19-year-old opened with 17.58 leap, the farthest in the world this season, smashing his personal best by 21cm and landing just one centimetre shy of the French record set by Pierre Camara for his World indoor title in 1993. Coached in Boulouris by former sprinter Laurence Bily, using the plans of Paris-based coach Jean-Hervé Stievenard, advised in Bercy by teammate Benjamin Compaoré (World Junior Champion in 2006) and pushed by a noisy crowd where his family was present, Tamgho was full of motivation.
“I assured my first attempt even if Laurence told me to go with full effort because I usually restrain myself,” he said. On his second attempt, Tamgho was visibly more tense as he tried to go too fast, subsequently fouled and lost balance on the step. “I had a jump timing issue on my 2second attempt and in to a lesser extent on the third one (17.45).”
Fouling the fourth try, the fifth was probably the best of the day. “I fouled by 10-15cm but it was well over 17.80, so I think I have World record potential.” Bily concurred: “Bercy is a bouncy wood track, so Teddy’s run-up was even faster than usual. He made so much improvement this year that he struggles to master this new found speed.” Tamgho reckoned he had some difficulty to get used to the track. “I didn’t manage to get the same run-up length during the warm-up and the competition, so I was confused with my marks.”
Tamgho will now come back to Boulouris to prepare for the upcoming national championships (21-22 February in Liévin). “I have to get ready there because I will again meet Jules Lechanga (6th in Bercy with 16.41) who was amazing during our training camp in South Africa in January, and I expect him to be at the same level as mine, or even better. I need to be pushed in order to express myself on the track.”
Moreira clocks 6.52 South American record in the 60m
The 60m saw the surprising Brasilian José Carlos Moreira win with a new South American Record of 6.52. The former mark was established by training partner Vicente de Lima (6.58) when he won in Bercy last year.
De Lima and Italian Simone Collio were the favourites this year as they both won their respective heats in 6.62. De Lima qualified for the final with 6.64. Nigerian Peter Emelieze was the victim of the “no-false start” rule in experimentation in Bercy. Nevertheless, Moreira took the risk to produce a perfect start in lane one and was never caught as he passed the line in 6.52, the second fastest time in the World this year.
“The track is very fast here, and the crowd is incredible, it’s the same atmosphere as Brazilian meetings,” said the delighted winner. De Lima placed second in 6.61, Collio third in 6.62, and Christophe Lemaître fourth in 6.65 after having broken the French Junior Record in the heats with 6.64.
“Every time in heats, I have problems,” deplored the solidly-built Moreira, who is 1.72m tall and weighs in at 78kg. “When I won in Ghent (6.59), I barely qualified for the final after 6.75 in the heats. In Liévin, the heats were at such a high level that my 6.70 was not enough to get into the final.”
The 25-year-old Brazilian has made significant improvements since last year (6.66) and expects to break his 100m personal best (10.16A) dating from 2007. “My aim is to enter in the final in Berlin World Championships, and maybe even better. Our 4x100m relay team, fourth in Beijing, has a great chance to medal.” Moreira is supposed to come back home in order to prepare for the Brazilian outdoor season which opens in March, but his performance in Bercy might convince his coach Jaime Neito to let him race indoors for a couple more meetings.
Doucouré and Lopes-Schliep take hurdles wins
Ladji Doucouré confirmed his return to his best level in winning in 7.53. After difficult season debuts in Reims (7.74) and Moscow (7.75), the 2005 World Champion at 110m Hurdles and the 4x100m Relay suddenly raised his game in Liévin to place second in 7.52.
“At the moment, my start is always the problem,” he explained. “It’s getting slightly better, but I’m still struggling to find the rhythm between the first hurdles.”
Canadian Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, with 7.91 in the heats and 7.90 in final (second fastest time in the World this season), won her seventh final of the year.
Eslewhere, Brasilian Keila Costa reached a new personal best of 6.64m in the Long Jump; Greg Nixon (USA) took the 300m in 32.68, an impressive time considering the design of Bercy’s curves; Paul Koech (KEN) won the 3000m in 7:38.28; and Bettina Müller-Weissina (AUT) was the fastest woman at 60m in 7.26.
Pierre-Jean Vazel for the IAAF