Athletics: Benjamin Robert, Cyréna Samba-Mayela, Just Kwaou-Mathey… The young French generation responded to Charléty

The blue track of Charléty brought luck to the Habs. Saturday June 18, under the impetus of the French Athletics Federation, 33 Blues were invited to tread the tartan of the Parisian stage of the Diamond League, the highest level of athletics meeting. One week before the end of the qualification period for the Eugene Worlds in the United States (July 15 to 24), despite the scorching temperatures, the performances were there for the Habs.

On the track, the most beautiful race of the evening could have ended sadly for its winner. At the end of a crazy last straight line, the Frenchman Benjamin Robert cut the line at the head of the 800m, not without pushing aside his competitors with his arms to clear his way since he was blocked by the rope. A gesture which earned him to be disqualified, before the jury reconsidered its decision.

Benjamin Robert, winner of the 800m, in Paris, June 18, 2022. (JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP)

New personal best at the key (1’43″23), Benjamin Robert signed there one of the most beautiful victories of his career, in a rather muscular way. “I don’t blame you for anything, huh… But you shouldn’t do that in the league”, teased him the Habs Gabriel Tual, who took advantage of the aspiration to validate the time required for the world championships. He leveled off his best mark with a time of 1’44″23. Minimas in his pocket for Eugene also for Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, 800m world champion in 2017 in London, who created a sensation by completing the double lap of track in 1’44″54 when no one expected him at this level.

Over the hurdles, the French team advanced in numbers at Charléty, despite the withdrawal of Wilhem Belocian, after an alert in the middle of the race in Oslo on Thursday. Pascal Martinot-Lagarde was returning to competition after a calf injury and was a little tight, so it was the young French people who took over. Aligned for the first time in the Diamond League, Sasha Zhoya improved on his best mark, by signing a time of 13.40 on the 110m hurdles – better than the time required for the European championships in Munich. did not appear in the final after feeling pain in his knee, another 22-year-old Frenchman made the blue jersey shine. By beating his record (13″27), Just Kwaou-Mathey takes a prestigious third place in Paris, 11 hundredths behind the American winner Devon Allen.

Among the women, the French Cyréna Samba-Mayela, world indoor champion in the 60m hurdles, crossed the finish line in the 100m hurdles in fourth position, in 12.76, her best performance of the season. who offers him a ticket to the United States.

In the flat sprint, the fine French performance came from Mouhamadou Fall, who after achieving 10.32 at the start of the meeting in the 100m, set his 200m record in 20.26, only two hundredths of the minimum for the World Championships in Eugene (USA). The Frenchman took third place in a race won by the surprising South African Luxolo Adams, while Canadian Andre de Grasse, reigning Olympic champion in the distance, was never in the game (4th in 20″38).

The Paris meeting gave rise to three new world performances of the year. First, in the 100m, programmed at the end of the competition, the Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce crushed the competition and took a hundredth off her best time of the season (10″67). Earlier in the evening, In the high jump, the Ukrainian Yaroslava Mahuchikh, tanned in Tokyo last summer, had improved on her own world best performance of the season, with 2.01m cleared on the second attempt. two of his compatriots, Iryna Gerashchenko (1.98m) and Yuliya Levchenko (1.95m).

For his part, the athlete from Bahrain Winfred Mutile Yavi achieved the best world performance of the season – and the fourth in history – in the 3000m steeplechase (8’58″71). In this race, the Frenchwoman Alice Finot got off to a fast start before breaking down in end of race (9’37″46). “I wanted to try to see what I was capable of starting strong in a race. It was for me a rehearsal of a great competition. Today I failed but I know what I can do or not. , and I’m ready for the World”, said the steeplechase, qualified for the Worlds after achieving 9’21″41 at the end of May in Spain.

In the other cross-country race, the men’s 5,000m, Frenchman Jimmy Gressier had a very good race, improving his record by a few tenths (13’08″75) and thus validating the time required for the Worlds. confirms his good form at the moment, a few weeks after achieving the world minima in the 10,000m at Pacé.On the other hand, in a humid and stifling atmosphere, Hugo Hay again came up against the time barrier (13’30″73).

The French disappointments are to be credited to the disc, hammer and triple jump competitions, where the Tricolores (Alexandra Tavernier, Mélina Robert-Michon, Benjamin Compaoré, Melvin Raffin) remained very far from their level. On the other hand, in the pole vault, in a competition that was not very tough, Renaud Lavillenie once again climbed on the podium in the Diamond League, taking 2nd place with 5.80m, behind the Belgian Ben Broeders (who passed 5.80m also, but on the first try) and in front of another Tricolor (Thibaut Collet, 5 m 75).

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