Renaud Lavillenie captured his seventh outdoor title to highlight the French National Championships in Marseille.
The men pole vault’s contest promised a strong competition with four athletes having reached the world championships qualifying standard of 5.70m: Renaud Lavillenie and his brother Valentin as well as Kévin Ménaldo and Axel Chapelle who took part in the U23 European Championships.
Renaud Lavillenie, who became a father for the first time two days ago, cleared 5.80m. He was then very close at 5.90m on his second attempt.
“It was a nice contest. I didn’t know what to expect (with the birth of his little girl on Friday), but it was eventually a good surprise!” said the world record holder.
Menaldo and Stanley Joseph rounded up the podium, with 5.70m and 5.50m respectively.
French athletes were hindered by windy conditions throughout the weekend, which prevented them from achieving strong performances.
Numerous French leaders were also forced to withdraw mainly through injury, including 100m European co-record holder Jimmy Vicaut, triple Olympic medallist Mahiedine-Mekhissi Benabbad, as well as Olympic 110m hurdles bronze medallist Dimitri Bascou.
Quentin Bigot produced the key performance on Friday, the first day of competition. The 2011 European U20 hammer throw champion moved up to seventh on the 2017 world list courtesy of a 77.87m throw in the second round. He produced a very consistent series with 76.40m, 77.87m, 76.72m, 76.26m, 77.85m and 76.46m.
It bodes well for the London World Championships next month where Bigot will be looking a strong performance. “It’s been one of my best career contests. I don’t want to sound pretentious, but I’ll be aiming a podium in London,” said the 25-year-old thrower.
In the women’s contest, Alexandra Tavernier opened her series with a 64.76m toss to secure the victory. The 2015 world bronze medallist then fouled her five attempts remaining.
Lesueur leaps windy 6.93m
Eloyse Lesueur, the 2014 world indoor champion, leapt to 6.93m to win her sixth domestic title in what was only her second season’s long jump competition. It would have been the third performance in the world this year but she benefited from strong tailwind of 4.3m/s.
The dual European champion, who hasn’t yet reached the qualifying standard of 6.75m in regular conditions, was injured the following day after her third attempt in the triple jump.
She finished second with 14.04m behind Jeanine Assani Issouf who reached a wind-assisted 14.48m to secure the win.
But most importantly, she reached 14.39m in the second round with a legal wind (0.6m/s) which allows her to qualify for the World Championships.
Quadruple duty for Mayer
Olympic decathlon silver medallist Kevin Mayer entered four individual event. He clocked 11.20 (-1,6m/s) in the 100m before reaching 14.90m in the shot put. On Saturday, he reached 47.98m in the discus and cleared 5.20m in the pole vault.
In the absence of Mekhissi-Benabbad, Yoann Kowal took command of the 3000 m steeplechase at the midway point, pushing hard and eventually coming home in 8:39.19, with Bouabdellah Tahri a distant second with 8:43.70.
After being slowed by some injuries in his build-up to the World Championships, Christophe Lemaitre competed in the 100m for the first time since early June in Montreuil when he clocked 10.18. His goal was the 10.10 London qualifier. Following a 10.33 run in his heat, the 2010 European triple champion claimed the title in 10.34 (-1,4m/s), 0.03 ahead of Ben Bassaw and 0.09 ahead of Emmanuel Biron.
On Sunday, Jeffrey John came up trumps in the 200m, won in 20.66 (-0,8m/s), 0.04 ahead of a tired Lemaitre.
Carole Zahi was a convincing winner of the women’s 100m, clocking a personal best of 11.13.
Jean-Marc Pontvianne prevailed in the triple jump with a leap of 17.13m (+2,1m/s), defeating Benjamin Compaoré (16.94m) and Yoann Rapinier (16.86m).
While Marion Lotout won the women’s pole vault title with a clearance of 4.30m, the best performance came from Sweden’s Lisa Gunnarsson. Competing as a guest, the 17-year-old confirmed her dominance of the U20 season’s world list going over 4.50m, five centimetres shy of her personal best.
As expected, Mélina Robert-Michon dominated the women’s discus contest with a best throw of 60.46m.
With a plethora of absences such as Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, Garfield Darien, Dimitri Bascou and Wilhem Belocian, the 110m hurdles saw the success of Aurel Manga in 13.41, 0.14 outside his PB of 13.27 set this year.
Raihau Maihau succeeded in the long jump courtesy of a wind-assisted (+3.4m/s) leap of 8.22m.
Quentin Guillon for the IAAF