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Fri Apr 18 17:41:02 SAST 2014

Lemaitre claims French sprint treble

Sapa-AFP | 18 June, 2012 09:170 Comments
Christophe Lemaitre of France competes in the men's 200 metres heats during day seven of 13th IAAF World Athletics Championships at Daegu Stadium on September 2, 2011 in Daegu, South Korea
Image by: Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Christophe Lemaitre, seen as Europe’s biggest hope to break Jamaican and US sprinting hegemony, wrapped up a French sprint triple on Sunday.

The 22-year-old added the 200m title to the 100m he won on Saturday in a wind-assisted 9.94 seconds, and was also part of his Aix-les-Bains club’s winning 4x100m relay team on Friday.

In the 200m, Lemaitre clocked 20.31sec to finish ahead of Ben Bassaw, who claimed second in 20.58sec in a photo-finish with Jimmy Vicaut.

While the time was well off Usain Bolt’s world record of 19.19sec, it was a welcome boost for the Frenchman ahead of facing the likes of Bolt, compatriots Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell, and the American trio of Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Walter Dix.

“I’m happy but I still haven’t got the reserves that I was able to draw on in Daegu,” Lemaitre said of his experiences in last August’s world championships when he finished fourth in the 100m and claimed bronze in the 200m.

“To do 20.31 by putting together races like that, it’s good. We’re in mid-June, the French champs were earlier than normal. At the European championships, I have to be in form.” 

Arguably France’s biggest hope for gold at the London Olympics is, however, pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie, who has hit a fine run of consistent form ahead of the July 27-August 12 Games in the British capital.

He won again here with a best vault of 5.85 metres, his eighth victory in a row this season and another in which he has never vaulted lower than 5.82m to win.

Lavillenie failed in three attempts at 5.95m, which would have bettered his own world-leading best of 5.90m.

“It’s always great to be champion and it’s a nice string of results,” Lavillenie said. “The work’s paying off, it’s comforting.”

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