Pognon easy heat - Arron and Doucouré struggle with injuries - French National Champs - Day One
Friday 21 July 2006

Nancy – Some of the athletes who led France to win the men’s SPAR European Cup last month in Malaga, and therefore qualified for the first time ever for the IAAF World Cup (Athens, 16-17 September) competed on day one of the French National Championships in Nancy yesterday.

These Championships are also used by the French athletes as a last chance to qualify for the European Championships in Gothenburg (7-13 August).

Ronald Pognon, winner in Malaga with 10.13 was the fastest qualifier in the 100m heats as he cruised to a 10.17 (wind +0.9m/s) clocking after a rocket start. The 4x100m World champion had some worries before this competition as his races in Paris (10.11 on July 8th), Lausanne (10.13 on July 11th) and Rome (10.27 July 14th) tired him to the point that he was not sure he’d be able to run the three rounds here in Nancy.

Nevertheless, the perspective of winning his first ever 100m national title and running in front of his family, originally from Martinique, has kept his motivation high.

His relay team-mates ran close to their best standards during the first round: Oudéré Kankarafou (10.29), Fabrice Calligny (10.36), Eddy De Lepine (10.40) and Lueyi Dovi (10.43) all qualified easily.

Doucouré out injured but confident for Europeans

A member of the Golden relay in Helsinki, and also the World champion at 110m Hurdles, Ladji Doucouré announced that he would not compete in Nancy through injury. On Tuesday, while practicing starts, he suddenly felt a pain in his right calf, a recurrent injury since the 2005 Berlin meeting where Doucouré had twisted his ankle.

The Achilles tendon had been the main problem since then, however, the analysis done after Tuesday’s workout showed that the tendon is healthy but revealed a tear in the aponeurosis of the medial gastrocnemius muscle.

His staff is still confident Doucouré will be back in shape for Gothenburg, as he will receive treatment and pool work during eight days, then start jogging a week later before wearing spikes again for a late preparation for the European Championships.

The programme will be even more difficult for Christine Arron as the 100m European record holder injured herself during her opening outdoor race in Baie-Mahault on 2 May (ligament inflamation under the glutes) and has only resumed light sprint training a week ago.

Problems for Arron too

Running in the first heat, Arron started cautiously and just tested her legs during the acceleration, before striding easily through the finish line in 11.64 (wind -1.0m/s). The pain after the race forced her to stop the competition and go back to training.

In the other heats, Véronique Mang who clocked 11.26 and Sylviane Félix (11.27) are now the favourites for the National title, while Eunice Barber improved her personal best (11.72) to 11.52 (wind +1.0m/s).

Today, the former World Heptathlon and Long Jump champion will take part in the Javelin Throw and the High Jump.

In the Discus Throw, Jean-Claude Retel with 60.33m and Mélina Robert-Michon with 57.08m took, respectively, their 10th and 7th National titles.

Pierre-Jean Vazel for the IAAF

More French action: Miss France at the Miss Universe competition in the USA…PJ, with legs this long maybe she can find a place in your sprint squad?

No, for fear that she would get pregnant too soon.