Pascal Martinot-Lagarde’s season’s opener at the Meeting de Paris Indoor might not have turned too many heads on Sunday (27) evening but the Frenchman still has great ambitions this winter.
Martinot-Lagarde clocked 7.66 in the 60m hurdles heats in Paris before finishing fourth in the final 7.70. These times might be some way short of his very best but Martinot-Lagarde took away plenty of positives from his first competition of the season.
“I am very happy with my races because I felt like I could go fast. The technique and the explosiveness was there. I did not carry it through to the end but it's the detail. I prefer to focus on the feeling rather than the time. In the final, I was very distracted by the repeated starts but I hate to put the blame on an external element,” he said after the race.
Martinot-Lagarde has medals aplenty from the indoor scene. He has competed at the last seven major indoor championships since 2012, winning medals in six of them including gold at the European Indoor Championships in Prague four years ago. The Glasgow 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships certainly feature in his plans but Martinot-Lagarde is also looking to race against the stopwatch this winter.
“I have been European indoor champion and I have won plenty of medals so my challenge is to break my lifetime best which goes back to 2014. I feel like I have it in the legs.” Martinot-Lagarde told Ouest France in a recent interview.
That lifetime best stands at 7.45 which was set on home soil in Mondeville and he will have four competitions to aim for that time this winter. His next race will be at the ISTAF Indoor in Berlin on 1 February followed by domestic appearances in Lievin (10 February) and at the French Indoor Championships in Miramas (16-17 February) ahead of Glasgow on 1 March.
Martinot-Lagarde has flirted with the margins in recent championships. He missed out on defending his European indoor title in Belgrade two years ago by just 0.01 behind Andrew Pozzi but he was given the nod at the European Championships in Berlin last summer, pipping his long-time friend and rival Sergey Shubenkov by 0.002.
Shubenkov will not compete indoors this season but Martinot-Lagarde is looking forward to racing against him again this summer.
“I have not become the boss,” he said, reflecting on his gold medal from Berlin. “I beat a guy who beat me the other times. This guy is very strong. In 2018, he went under 13 seconds five times. He is a monster but he is not untouchable. For certain I am going to give him a hard time again this year.”