Monday June 18, 2012
Speed merchants Lemaitre and Blake hit form
ANGERS (France): Christophe Lemaitre retained his French national 100m title with a wind-assisted 9.94 victory on Saturday to rediscover his form in perfect time for the European Championships and Olympic Games.
With the wind recorded at +2.6 m/s, the 22-year-old Lemaitre, seen as Europe’s biggest hope to break Jamaican and US sprinting hegemony, beat home Jimmy Vicaut, who clocked 10.05, with Emmanuel Biron taking third (10.10).
“I’m happy,” Lemaitre said. “I came in well under 10 seconds. But the wind was too strong, it’s a shame.
“But 9.94 is a good time, even if I felt a little heavy over the first part of the race.”
Lemaitre, who set a French national record of 9.92 last year, will defend his two golds (100m, 4x100m) in the June 27-July 1 European champs at Helsinki, before going on to the July 27-Aug 12 London Games aiming for the podium.
The Frenchman finished fourth in the 100m final at the World Championships in Daegu last summer, but came home with a bronze from the 200m.
“I wasn’t at 100% in the first part of the race. Afterwards, once I’d got going, it was good,” he said.
But Lemaitre added that his run-out was better than his most recent Diamond League outing last month when he finished third (10.04) behind Jamaican duo Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell.
“It’s a little better than Rome already. I have to work now,” he said.
“If there hadn’t been any wind, it would put me right back up (among the top sprinters in the world).
“But saying that, I’m still very pleased with the time. It gives me confidence. It proves that it’s finally possible to go under 10 on a regular basis. Now I need to do it in more stable conditions.”
Lemaitre denied he had had any doubts in himself after struggling to find the form that catapulted him to Europe’s top sprinter last season.
“I haven’t had too many doubts because I knew that in Rome, with a better start, it was possible to have run under 10,” he said.
“I didn’t doubt to not be able to do it, but it was the fact of actually doing what I thought I could.
“This puts me back on track and proves that in the European champs, I can’t target anything else than retaining my titles and that at the Olympics I can do something good.
“In the form I’m in, it means I can also go quick in the 200m here. Under 20? Why not? But I’m saying 20.10.”
n EDMONTON: Reigning world 100m champion Yohan Blake of Jamaica won the century dash crown at the Donovan Bailey Invitational on Saturday in 10.05.
With no wind recorded, Blake produced a solid performance in Canada only a week after winning a Diamond League 100m race in New York in 9.90, serving notice he will be a contender at the Jamaican Olympic trials.
Blake defeated American Trell Kimmons by .06 of a second with Jamaican Lerone Clarke third in 10.13 and Norway’s Jaysuma Saidy Ndure fourth in 10.15.
Blake will be tested by reigning Olympic 100m and 200m champion and world record-holder Usain Bolt as well as Asafa Powell and a host of other Jamaican sprint stars in his homeland’s Olympic trials at the end of the month, all of them fighting for berths at the London Olympics athletics events next month. — AFP