Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (centre) at the 2016 French indoor championships (© Jean-Pierre Durand)
Pascal Martinot-Lagarde moved up to third on the 2016 60m hurdles world list after his 7.47 win on the second day of the French Indoor Championships at the Stadium Jean Pellez in Clermont Ferrand on Sunday (28).
Domestic rival and world leader Dimitri Bascou was missing with a slight hamstring problem but the lack of opposition didn’t bother the world indoor silver medallist. Following a 7.52 heat, Martinot-Lagarde continued to fly in the final and clocked 7.47, just 0.02 outside his best set in 2014.
Simon Krauss and Thomas Delmestre were distant second and third with respectively 7.73 and 7.74.
“I made no mistake, but I don’t think running 7.45 will be enough to get the world title," said Martinot-Lagarde. "(With Bascou) we could win two medals in Portland."
Another potential medal contender for France at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016 in three weeks’ time could be long jumper Kafetien Gomis.
Going into the final round, he was lying down in fourth with a relatively modest 7.70m but then uncorked an indoor best of 8.23m to move up to fourth on this year’s world indoor list.
Teddy Tamgho made a surprise appearance at these championships, his first competition for more than nine months.
The 2013 world triple jump champion and world indoor record-holder ruptured his left achilles tendon at the first IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha last May. At his last indoor appearance in Clermont Ferrand five years ago he set what was then the world indoor record of 17.91m.
On this occasion, he took the lead in the first round with 16.84m and extended it further when he leapt 16.98m in round four. Harold Correa finished second with 16.91m while European champion Benjamin Compaore completed the podium with 16.88m.
“Physically, I didn’t lose anything but I had five surgeries in four years so coming back in such circumstances is very good for me,” said Tamgho.
Lemaitre improves his 200m world lead
One day after winning the 60m, Christophe Lemaitre took the 200m title.
Lemaitre needed to sprint hard to beat Mickael-Meba Zeze but Lemaitre won in 20.43, improving his indoor best and his own world-leading mark by 0.01.
Zeze was a surprise second in 20.54, taking 0.31 from his previous best.
“My championships were successful," said Lemaitre. "I need to confirm my form ahead of this summer."
Like all the high-profile athletes this weekend, he wore a special bib to mark the forthcoming release of ‘Race’, the movie which recounts the life of Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics Games in Berlin.
“He’s a legend of athletics and what he’s done is incredible," said the 2010 triple European champion. "He has left his mark on history. I’m keen on athletics and I look forward to watching the movie."
Stella Akakpo, the 2013 European junior 100m champion, celebrated her 22nd birthday on Sunday with an impressive 200m win in 23.27, which is even faster than her outdoor best.
Vanessa Boslak, now 33, won the women’s pole vault contest with her second-attempt clearance at 4.60m, her best height in four years, before the 2012 world indoor silver medallist failed three times at what would have been an absolute French record of 4.72m.
Quentin Guillon for the IAAF