World finalist Marion Lotout broke the championship record in the Pole Vault at the Francophone Games, bagging one of the five gold medals won by host nation France on 11 September, the second day of athletics action.
The 23-year-old needed just two attempts to win the competition. She opened with a first-time clearance at 4.20m to steal the lead from Belgium’s Fanny Smets, then went clear at 4.40m at the first time of asking.
Smets also cleared the same height, albeit on her second attempt. The pair then unsuccessfully attempted 4.50m, leaving Lotout to take the gold medal on count-back.
Mediterranean Games champion Emmanuel Biron won the men’s 100m in 10.41 into a -1.4m/s wind, becoming the first French winner of the title since the inaugural event in 1989. Team-mate Ayodele Ikuesan took the women’s title in a photo finish from Romania’s Andreea Ograzeanu, both clocking 11.72 into a -2.1m/s wind.
It’s the first time since 1989 that both Francophone Games 100m titles were won by athletes from the same nation.
The fourth French athlete to strike gold was high jumper Melanie Melfort who won with 1.90m, beating Poland’s World finalist and pre-event favourite Justyna Kasprzycka, who jumped 1.88m.
The fifth and final gold medal for the host nation was won by French teenager Laura Arteil, who became the youngest ever winner of the Heptathlon at the Francophone Games. Buoyed by a PB of 44.20m in the Javelin, the 19-year-old took gold with a score of 5534.
The Heptathlon and Decathlon at the Francophone Games are part of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge.
Qatar is competing for the first time at the Francophone Games, having joined the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF) last year. Middle-distance runner Musaeb Balla duly became Qatar’s first ever Francophone Games athletics gold medallist in winning the 800m.
The Asian champion, who won at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Rieti three days prior with a national record of 1:43.93, led at the bell in 52.64 and maintained his lead until the finish, winning in 1:46.57, just 0.04 outside the Games record set in 2001.
Almost a second behind Balla, Moroccan athletes took silver and bronze with Samir Jamma just holding off team-mate Nader Belhanbel, 1:47.50 to 1:47.72.
Qatar won two more medals in the Discus, though neither of them was gold. Romania’s Sergiu Ursu took the title with 62.87m, the second-best winning throw in the history of the Francophone Games, while Qatari pair Rashid Al Dosari (59.06m) and Ahmed Dheeb (58.65m) took the other places on the podium.
In the men’s Long Jump, Polish champion Adrian Strzalkowski equalled his PB of 7.90m in round two to take the lead, then produced two wind-assisted jumps of 7.99m. France’s 2010 European silver medallist Kafetien Gomis took the silver with 7.81m.