Myriam Soumare produced the fastest indoor performance by a European sprinter for seven years to win the 200m at the women-only ‘Meeting Feminin du Val d’Oise’ in Eaubonne tonight (7).
The 2010 European 200m champion was up against Patricia Hall, the Jamaican who clocked a surprise 22.88 to win at this meeting last year, but tonight it was Soumare’s turn to crack the 23-second barrier.
The French woman smashed her previous indoor PB (23.10) to win in 22.87, while Hall had to be content with second place in 23.20. Hrystyna Stuy, the Ukrainian who finished one place ahead of Soumare at last year’s European Championships, was a distant third tonight in Eaubonne in 24.09.
Soumare’s performance puts her at fourth on the French indoor all-time list for the event behind Muriel Hurtis-Houairi, Christine Arron and Sylviane Felix.
She also competed in the 60m, but there she was relegated to second place behind Ukraine’s Mariya Ryemyen, the sprinter who succeeded Soumare as the European 200m champion last year. In Eaubonne, Ryemyen clocked 7.15 – her second-fastest time to date, behind the 7.12 PB she recently set in Moscow – while Soumare posted a season’s best of 7.21.
Tia Hellebaut, the 2008 Olympic champion, enjoyed a close tussle with European bronze medallist Olena Holosha in the High Jump. Ukraine’s Holosha led for the first half of the competition, clearing all heights through to 1.93m on her first attempt. Hellebaut then took the lead with her first-time clearance at 1.95m before leaping 1.97m on her second attempt; the height at which Holosha exited the competition. Hellebaut ended the night with three failed attempts at 2.00m.
Portugal’s Sara Moreira was a decisive winner of the 3000m. The two-time European medallist over 5000m stopped the clock in 8:52.48 to win by almost two seconds over indoor debutante Almenesh Belete of Belgium (8:54.14). For the second year in succession at this meeting, World junior steeplechase record-holder Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia was third (8:55.73).
The closest contest of the night was in the women’s 60m Hurdles. Fresh from setting a big PB of 7.93 last weekend in Moscow, Russia’s Yuliya Kondakova triumphed again tonight – but only just. Her winning time of 8.06 was just enough to beat Italy’s Veronica Borsi (8.07) and Alice Decaux of France (8.08).
Eunice Barber returned to action in the Long Jump. In a competition won by Brazil's Melanie Martins (6.40m), the 38-year-old placed sixth with 6.08m. The 1999 World Heptathlon champion and 2003 World Long Jump champion last competed in 2010.
Elsewhere, French indoor champion Marie Gayot was a clear winner of the 400m in 53.14, while three-time World silver medallist Nadine Kleinert found 18.00m enough to win the Shot.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF