Eloyse claims the first ever long jump gold for France
|Eloyse Lesueur of France took the long jump gold
with a leap of 6.81m on Thursday.
Lesueur, who was fourth in the 2008 World Indoor Championships and owns a 6.91m PB, took an immediate lead with a 6.81m/0.5 opening jump and she was never challenged that closely thereafter. Three of her remaining jumps were no jumps and her remaining two efforts were a respectable 6.57m/0.5 and a less impressive 3.61/-1-1. It didn't matter though as she won in style even if it was the shortest winning distance since 1982 as the jumpers had to contend with headwinds for most of the competition.
The 23 year-old Frenchwoman, who can boast a 11.57 100m PB has been in good form in the USA where she was regularly around the 6.80m mark and she even broke 7.00m with a windy 7.04m in Florida.
Turkey's South African-born Karen Melis Mey, who won the bronze medal in the 2009 World Championships, went into second position with her 6.60/0.1 opener.
Germany's Sosthene Taroum Moguenara who was third in last year's European Under-23 championships and Belarus's Volha Sudarava, the only jumper in the 2012 European top 10 who was in the final, both opened with jumps of 6.59m.
Nothing of great note happened in rounds two or three though the German's third round 6.53/0.2 at least ensured her second best was superior to Sudareva's second round 6.51/-0.5 to put her into the bronze medal position.
Nothing of happened in the fourth round either except the German strengthened her hold on third place with a second best 6.57m jump.
In the fifth round, Norway's Margrethe Renstrom, who had had finished 12th in Barcelona, showed that the qualifying was no fluke as she set a season's best of 6.67m/1.2 to move into second place. That didn't survive the round though as Sudarava moved from fifth to second with a powerful 6.74m/0.6 jump. Mey improved to 6.62m/0.5 but was out of a medal position.
In the final round the medal positions weren't affected though Mey improved a further centimetre to 6.63m/0.8 but lost a place as Taroum Moguenara advanced with a 6.66m leap but that left her a frustrating one cm down on the Norwegian.
The final jump of the competition went to Leseuer who did a big no jump, in the knowledge that the gold medal was hers.
Runner-up Sudarava, who has jumped 6.85m this summer, wasn't too happy with her silver. She said, "The competition was too hard for me due to the headwind. I'm sure my result would have been better with a tailwind. I shall now focus on London."
Of the other expected contenders, the defending champion and 2011 World championships bronze medallist Ineta Radvica never really challenged and was sixth with 6.55m/-0.6
The 2007 European silver medallist Concepcion Montaner finished 11th with a disappointing 6.26m/-0.6
The Ukranian Marharyta Tverdohlib, who is the 2010 world junior championships bronze medallist and has a best of 6.80m this year, produced three no jumps and failed to register a mark.
In the qualifying, three athletes achieved the automatic qualifying distance of 6.65m with all three achieving 6.66m.
Mey, Renstrom and Lesueur all jumped 6.66m as 6.39m proved sufficient for qualifying by distance.
The only major casualty from qualifying was the Briton Abigail Irozuru who could only jump 6.19m compared to her 6.80m recent PB which placed her third in the European rankings of those competing.