Vicaut and Mayer primed for Berlin success after excelling in Paris

Kevin Mayer
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France's Kevin Mayer set lifetime bests in the 110m hurdles and shot put to win the triathlon at the IAAF Diamond League in Paris on the road to the European Championships in Berlin

Joint European record-holder Jimmy Vicaut’s pursuit of that elusive 100m senior gold medal edged a little bit closer on Saturday. 

The French sprinter ran a sensational 9.91 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting at the Stade Charlety in Paris on Saturday (30) evening to move to joint top of the European lists with Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes. 

Vicaut, who won European silver in 2012 and bronze in 2016, was second in the race behind American Ronnie Baker who tied the world lead with 9.88. It was another great run for the Frenchman with the European Championships in Berlin just five weeks away. 

“This second place is a good result,” said Vicaut, who recorded his 21st wind legal sub-10 clocking of his career.

“I beat my record of the season by one hundredth. It's good. I am happy. I still have to work to do at the end of the race. But times [will] go down, it's interesting. I will think about the European Championships later. Before, I focus on the French Championships.” 

Also in an equally good mood is teammate and world decathlon champion Kevin Mayer.

Though not a Diamond League event, Mayer had a fine night in Paris as he took part in a special triathlon as part of his preparations for the European Championships in Berlin where he will aim for his fourth successive major gold medal.

He won all three events in Paris, breaking his personal best in two of them. Mayer opened by taking the long jump with 7.62m - just three centimetres shy of his lifetime best - before a best-ever shot put of 16.51m and then a personal best of 13.71 in the 110m hurdles. 

“I had an amazing time, so intense emotionally and with strong performances,” said Mayer, who scored 2860 points across the three events to beat Ukraine’s Oleksiy Kasyanov’s corresponding score of 2643 points. 

“I was disappointed on the technical point of view with shot put and 110m hurdles but at the same time so happy with my performances in these two events. Getting personal bests is something extraordinary.” 

Perkovic, Lasitskene break meeting records to maintain win streaks

Sandra Perkovic’s march towards to a fifth successive European discus title remains at full pelt after another performance to remember in the Diamond League. 

Perkovic won with a meeting record of 68.60m to break the meeting record as she beat Cuban pair of Yaime Perez (66.55m) and former world champion Denia Caballero (63.13m). 

Perkovic started with a throw of 47.51m before reaching her winning mark in the second round which was followed by throws of 65.63m in the fourth round and 67.85m in the fifth round.

She then quickly looked ahead to returning later this month to the place of her national record of 71.41m from last summer – along with her European Championship dream. 

“I want to be the one to beat in Berlin so I am going to prepare 100 per cent on this now,” said Perkovic. “I have a special meeting in my calendar on 16 July in Bellinzona in Switzerland. I threw my last national record there, so I am looking forward to this event.”

World high jump champion Mariya Lasitskene’s amazing run of victories reached 45 but it was also a good evening for the athlete who came second - Belgium’s Olympic and heptathlon world champion Nafissatou Thiam. 

Both of them have big goals in Berlin and Lasitskene took her season’s form to its greatest height as she won in a world lead and meeting record of 2.04m before attempting 2.08m. 

Lasitskene said: “I am pleased that I was able to show the meeting record to this amazing crowd and I felt really able to go even higher jump. I felt very good over the bar at 2.08m and they were good attempts. I know what to work on now and I just need continue jumping.” 

Thiam achieved a personal best of 2.01m when she won in Gotzis in May and she was happy with her 1.97m and what she could take out of this event. 

“This competition gave me a confidence so that I will comfortable before the European championships in Berlin,” said Thiam. “I am not interested in the individual high jump. I am fully focused on the heptathlon. It is always good to have one good competition with strong opponents before the major championships.”

Harting rounding into form with Berlin on the horizon

Germany’s Christoph Harting will create quite a noise when he takes to the discus ring at the European Championships in Berlin and he warmed up with second in the men’s event with 64.80m as Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres was a decisive winner with 67.01m. Poland’s Robert Urbanek was third with 64.68m. 

World champion Andrius Gudzius and silver medallist Daniel Stahl were both out of sorts last night, finishing 10th (61.31m) and 12th (60.46m) respectively. 

Sweden’s Armand Duplantis finished second in the pole vault in 5.90m as America’s world champion Sam Kendricks won in a world lead of 5.96m. France’s three-time European champion Renaud Lavillenie was in third with 5.84m. 

Norway’s world champion Karsten Warholm has been thoroughly displaced as the world’s leading exponent in the 400m hurdles by Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba who clocked the second fastest time in history of 46.98 last night.

Warholm will still be a big favourite for the European title in Berlin and despite crashing through the ninth hurdle and drifting out of his lane, Warholm still clocked one of the fastest times of his career with 48.06 to finish third.