Another day without a medal for the French delegation in Eugene (Oregon), Thursday 21 July. Mélina Robert-Michon is still chasing her best and finished away from China’s Feng, gold medalist in the discus throw. Alice Finot, like her compatriot, also took 10th place, this time in the 3000m steeplechase. Finally, reasons for hope remain with the qualifications of Gabriel Tual and Benjamin Robert in the semi-finals of the 800m.
Robert-Michon still far from the mark
She probably would have dreamed of another birthday present. Mélina Robert-Michon, in difficulty for two seasons, ranked tenth in the discus throw, two days after celebrating her 43rd birthday. His best throw was measured at 60.36m on the lawn of Hayward Field. Lucid, the Habs were aware of the course that remained to be taken to aim higher.
It was the Chinese Feng Bin who was crowned by surprising the favorites, the Croatian Sandra Perkovic and the American Valarie Allman, finally second and third. Feng (28) won thanks to a better throw – the first – sent to 69.12 m, a personal best improved by more than three meters (66 m until then). Perkovic (68.45 m), double Olympic champion (2012 and 2016) and double world champion (2013 and 2017), and Allman (68.30 m) are only separated by fifteen centimeters.
Van Niekerk, the return of the fallen king
The medals, the injury, then finally the end of the tunnel? Solid in the 400m semi-final, Wayde van Niekerk will compete for the first time in five years in a world final on Friday on the lap. An almost resurrection for the South African, who burst into the face of the world during the Rio Olympics by erasing the record of the legendary Michael Johnson in the 400m (43”03).
Crowned world champion the following year in London, van Niekerk had since disappeared from tartans, cruciate ligaments in the knee ruptured during a rugby match with friends in October 2017. The return to light was long and gradual, even if the South African is still far from developing the same stride as during his golden years.
With the 5th time of the entries, he will have a lot to do in particular against the American Michael Norman, best time in the half (44”30), and against the Grenadian Kirani James, triple Olympic medalist on the lap. The reigning Olympic champion, the Bahamian Steven Gardiner, is absent due to an injury.
Tual easy, Robert by a mouse hole
French half-backs Gabriel Tual and Benjamin Robert qualified for the 800m semi-finals. If the first ensured without shaking, the second snatched his place in pain. Tual qualified by finishing second in his series in 1’46”34 while Robert, 4th in his in 1’45”94, got him a ticket for the next round as sixth and last drafted on time after a faster competitor was disqualified in another heat.
Finot, a fall and hopes
The last crossing was too much for Alice Finot. Victim of a fall just before the final straight of the 3000m steeplechase, the Frenchwoman ranked 10th, far behind the Kazakh Norah Jeruto, magnificent gold medal.
However, the satisfaction remains for Alice Finot, for whom it was the first international final and who, despite her fall, approached her personal best.
Semenya too fair and eliminated
South African Caster Semenya, former Olympic and world champion in the 800m, was eliminated in the 5000m heats. Qualified in extremis for the competition, Semenya (31) finished 13th in her race in 15’46”12, and will not see the final.
Triple world champion (2009, 2011 and 2017) and double Olympic champion in the 800m (2012 and 2016), Semenya is affected by the regulations on hyperandrogenic athletes (who have a natural excess of male sex hormones). Since 2018, these athletes have had to lower their testosterone levels through hormone treatment in order to compete in women’s events ranging from the 400m to the mile, which she refuses.
Semenya, who disputes the rule which she considers “discriminatory”, but lost her legal action, gave up her favorite distance to start the 5000 m, without experiencing the same success.
Kerley stopped short
American Fred Kerley, freshly 100m world champion, is suffering from a “slight quadriceps injury” and will not compete in the 4x100m relay at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, the American team said on Wednesday.
“Fred suffered a minor quadriceps injury during his 200m semi-final yesterday. He will not be able to run the 4x100m relay later in the week”confirmed to AFP a representative of Team USA reporting remarks by Kerley’s agent.
After his elimination in the 200m semi-finals the day before, the 27-year-old American sprinter had only mentioned “a cramp”.I felt a cramp, it happens, it’s part of the game”, he had then reassured, without suspecting the extent of the damage. The men’s 4x100m is scheduled for Friday (heats) and Saturday (final).