For the France team, everything will be decided on the last day. In order to avoid leaving with zero medals, as in the first edition of the world championships in 1983 and the fourth in 1993, the Blues will once again count on their two stalwarts, pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie, who will compete sa 6e world final, and decathlete Kevin Mayer who will complete his ten events.
On Saturday, several French chances evaporated again: in the 800 meters final with Gabriel Tual (6e), in the 4 x 100 meter relay final with the French team (disqualification) and in the triple jump final with the 8e place of Jean-Marc Pontvianne (16.86 meters).
In the decathlon, before the second day which is traditionally more favorable to him, Kevin Mayer is him 6e, one place behind his ranking at the same time at the Tokyo Olympics last year. The world record holder is 97 points behind on the podium and 234 points behind the surprising leader, the Puerto Rican Ayden Owens-Delerme. The big favourite, Damian Warner – who led the decathlon – collapsed in the middle of 400 meters, holding his thigh and was forced to retire. “This opens up a boulevard for me for the titlecommented Mayer, Unless young people surprise me. »
Other French athletes fell prematurely, even before reaching the semi-finals or the final. This is particularly the case of the hurdler Cyréna Samba-Mayela, indoor world champion this winter, who was not able to cross the series, eliminated with a time far from her potential in 13.15 seconds (record at 12.73 seconds). Friday, on 800 meters, Rénelle Lamotte, however impressive in series, did not manage to reach the final. She placed only sixth in her semi-final. » All that for this « she had commented, annoyed.
For his comrade on the double lap, the contract was however fulfilled. At 24, Gabriel Tual has gained a rank compared to the last Olympic final for which he had already qualified. In Eugene, he ranked, Saturday, 6e (7e in Tokyo) by being daring in the way he runs. Two days ago, his friend and rival in the 800 meters, Benjamin Robert, had experienced the disappointment of an early elimination in the semi-finals, today Gabriel Tual has little to reproach himself for.
“It’s frustrating because I had come looking for better. On this race it was not possible. You have to be able to hit your recordhe explained, Up to 720 meters, I’m in the game. Then, after it’s the tumble: one, two, three, four, it keeps happening. I tried. I have no regrets to have. But the medal was not far away and it is still not around the neck. »
The place of Tual is encouraging for the French middle distance. “The level of some of our athletes is progressing. We hope for results at the international level in some timeanalyzed Patricia Djaté-Taillard, referent of the middle distance, Whether it’s Benjamin or Gabriel, they are among those athletes we hope for at the peak of their career in Paris [les JO 2024]. »
“Now I want medals”
Faced with Kenyan Emmanuel Korir, gold medalist, Algerian Djamel Sedjati, silver medalist, and Canadian Marco Arop, bronze medalist, Gabriel Tual was still a bit tight. “I have enough experience. It bores me to make places of 5e6e ou7e. Now I want medalshe asserted, It’s not as easy as that. There is a gap between what we say and what we do. There is enormous pressure, it doesn’t seem like that, but we are playing our lives. It’s not easy to be both focused and relaxed. »
They too had little to lose. By qualifying for the final, the 4 x 100 meter relay had already surprised everyone. This band of sprinters was far from being among the tricolor chances before the start of the competition.
At the heart of embarrassing business, the 4 x 100 meters of the Blues had created a sensation yesterday by winning its semi-final and achieving the second fastest time of the eight qualified for the final, just behind the United States: 38.09 seconds against 37.87 seconds. In the end, the scenario did not repeat itself. Crossing the finish line in last place, in 38.34 seconds, they were even disqualified for a bad transmission of witnesses. It was the Canadians who surprisingly won ahead of the United States (37.48 seconds against 37.55 seconds).
With only one sprinter in the individual sprint events – Mouhamadou Fall out of the 200 meter series – the French sprint looked gray before landing in Oregon. Fall, was also unable to participate in the relay party, since he is awaiting a decision from the AFLD (French Agency for the Fight against Doping) after having experienced three breaches of his obligations. location. Another of the best French sprinters, Amaury Golitin, had been suspended just before the Worlds for the same reasons.
Méba-Mickaël Zézé, Pablo Mateo, Ryan Zézé and Jimmy Vicaut were happy after their semi-final. « We’ve wanted to run so fast and win a race for a very long time, it’s good for confidence »dropped Méba-Mickaël Zézé after the semi-final. “We hope to do the same thing again (in the final). We transcend ourselves morehe had warned, On the transmissions, we can say that we were at 7/10 on the risk scale. » In the final, it did not pass.
No miracle in the final for the torchbearers
In Tokyo, the behavior of these torchbearers, in particular the two absentees, had raised questions. Between disagreement with the ex-coach, Dimitri Demonière, absences at certain rallies and public criticism, Fall and Golitin had notably gone to the disciplinary committee in December 2021.
The sanction had been light: a suspension of six months with a total reprieve. On the track, the torchbearers had been powerless, ejected from the semi-finals. In 2019, the team – in a different composition – had missed its final, dropping the baton from the first transmission between Amaury Golitin and Jimmy Vicaut.
To close this penultimate evening, failing to count its medals for the moment, the French team has three more finalists: the triple jumper Pontvianne (8e) and the two teams of 4 x 400 meter torchbearers, male and female. Seventh and eighth times of the qualifiers, they are far from starting favorites on Sunday for a place on the podium. Because of their mistake, their colleagues in the 4 x 100 meters will not be included in this finalist report.