Two of the three titles decided on the first day of the athletics programme at the 7th Francophone Games in the French city of Nice went to Polish throwers – Tomasz Majewski and Pawel Fajdek – on Tuesday (10).
Majewski, the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Shot Put champion, sent his first-round effort out to a Games record of 20.18m and he was never seriously challenged after that.
His third and fourth-round attempts both reached 19.99m and, although his other puts were fouls, any of his three valid efforts would have won the competition.
France’s Gaeten Bucki finished second with his first attempt of 19.33m and then he had five successive fouls in an effort to close the gap between himself and Majewski.
There was a similar story of Polish supremacy over France in the men’s Hammer, the first gold medal in athletics at the Games to be decided, with World champion Fajdek sending his implement out to 75.41m in the first round and then reaching 78.28m with his next throw, which proved to be the winner.
The rest of his series was 72.85m, 75.66m, 77.99m, 75.38m. Despite the fact that Fajdek was almost four metres short of his best, set last month, five of his six throws would have won the contest
France’s 2011 European junior champion Quentin Bigot was second with 74.60m while Qatar’s Ashraf Amjad E Seify, the current World junior champion and still only 18, was third with 72.88m.
The third gold medal on the opening day went to Morocco’s Hicham Bellani, who took the 10,000m title in 28:49.09.
The fastest sprinters in the 100m semi-finals were France’s Emmanuel Biron with 10.36 and Romania’s Andreea Ograzeanu with 11.69, the relatively modest times being partly due to having to run into a breeze.
Canada’s Noelle Montcalm was the quickest woman in the two 400m Hurdles heats in 58.24 while Qatar’s Abdelrahman Musaeb Bala, who set a national record of 1:43.93 at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Rieti on Sunday, is shaping up as the favourite for the men’s 800m and clocked 1:47.84 to comfortably be the fastest man in the 800m heats.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF