Jimmy Vicaut put down his marker for the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships with a blistering 9.92 at the Meeting de Marseille on Saturday (16) night – the 20th time he has broken 10-seconds in the 100m.
“Wow” was Vicaut’s reaction when he saw the time while equally telling were his comments in the aftermath of this easy win. “The goal is the medals, the time is nothing,” said Vicaut, who won a silver medal in the 100m in 2012 followed by a bronze medal in 2016.
Vicaut’s victory in this European Athletics Outdoor Classic Permit Meeting puts him equal second on the 2018 world lists, just 0.01 behind Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes with the European Championships less than two months away.
The joint European 100m record-holder with Francis Obikwelu is still to win a major outdoor gold medal in a distinguished career in which injuries have played more than a part.
This step up in speed, as he broke away from the field early on from lane four, shows that elusive title could be his at the Olympic Stadium as Berlin co-hosts the first multi-sports European Championships with Glasgow - if he stays injury free.
The men's 100m was the last event of the night and it was a worthy finale as Vicaut beat the Ivory Coast’s Ben-Youssef Meite in 10.14 and South Africa’s Simon Magakwe in 10.19.
The clock initially showed 9.91 but even after being rounded up, the time did not change the delight on Vicaut’s face as he celebrated a victory which will make his rivals know that he is on the upward climb towards a Berlin peak.
Grenot and Vaillant post face times over one lap
Italy’s Libania Grenot is doing the same, as she heads to the championships looking for a hat-trick of 400m crowns, and she earned a fine victory in Marseille, beating a field including multiple world and Olympic champion Allyson Felix.
Starting the evening with a season’s best of 51.81, Grenot won in 51.51 to move to third in the lists which are still led by Poland’s Justyna Swiety-Ersetic with 51.05. Great Britain’s Perri-Shakes Drayton finished second in 51.97 ahead of Felix in third in 52.01.
Women's 400m Meeting d'Athlétisme de Marseille
1. Libania Grenot 51.51
2. Drayton Shakes 51.97
3. Allyson Felix 52.01@lsabre_Avenger @TnFjunkie @JustSportsTweet #Trackandfield pic.twitter.com/iUNtStXZWk
— Miska (@M1ZKA) June 16, 2018
Frenchman Ludvy Vaillant left the European Athletics U23 Championships in Bydgoszcz last summer with bronze medals from the 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay and he produced a fine win in the individual event in 48.96 to beat Kenyan Haron Koech (49.36) and Estonia’s 2014 European silver medallist Rasmus Magi (49.42).
There was further French success in the men’s triple jump as Jean-Marc Pontvianne cleared 16.95m to defeat Burkina Faso’s Fabrice Zango Hugues (16.93m) and in the women’s long jump, France’s former European champion Eloyse Lesueur-Aymonin was second with a season’s best of 6.80m as Colombia’s Olympic triple jump champion Caterine Ibarguen won with 6.87m. Great Britain’s Shara Proctor third with 6.73m.
After Vicaut’s success in the men’s 100m, teammate Orlann Ombissa took second in the women’s in 11.28 in a race won by Jamaica's 2008 Olympic silver medallist Kerron Stewart in 11.25 and the Netherlands’ Eefje Boons also won the 100m hurdles in 13.09.
A competitive men’s 1500m saw Britain’s Charlie Grice earn a narrow win from Belgium’s Isaac Kimeli – 3:36.48 to 3:36.51 – with Jake Wightman third in 3:37.04 although Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad was a non-finisher.
Having been knocked off the top of the European lists last weekend, Britain’s Andrew Osagie was second in the 800m in 1:45.79 behind Morocco’s Mostafa Smaili (1:45.76) while Poland’s Robert Urbanek took second in the discus with 63.31m as South Africa’s Victor Hogan won with 65.20m.