at the crossroads of a generational crossroads, the French team at the reveal of Budapest


View of the National Athletics Center in Budapest, the main site of the World Championships which take place from August 19 to 27, 2023 in Hungary.

One year before the Olympic Games (OG) in Paris, France released the cavalry for the World Championships in Athletics, from August 19 to 27 in Budapest. Seventy-eight athletes, including 56 entered in individual events – compared to 28 last year – are on the trip to Hungary.

This expanded contingent follows the lackluster Eugene-2022 Worlds. In the United States, the Blues had to be content with their meagerest harvest since 1993, counting Kevin Mayer as the only medalist (gold in decathlon). This time, the French federation (FFA) sounded the general requisition: “ We wanted to allow all athletes to confront the world eliteexplains Romain Barras, director of high performance at the FFA. Our ambition is that no athlete arrive unselected for the Paris Games “. A point of page all the more important as the Hungarian deadline weighs heavily in the calculation of Olympic qualifications.

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As for the medals, on the other hand, Romain Barras does not get wet on a goal: the official speech is “the search for transcendence and the imilation of the requirements of the very high world level “. Unofficially, the ambition is to do better than Eugene and the Tokyo Olympics – only money for kevin mayer – to embark on Paris 2024 with serenity.

The new generation on the test bench

So change of course, and change of heads. Exit Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, 110m hurdles specialist, unselected, Jimmy Vicaut, 100m specialist, exhausted after a season marked by injuries, or Renaud Lavillenie, pole vault specialist, who suffers from a partial rupture of the tendon. ” We had a very strong generation between 2014 and 2017 which, predictably, is nearing the end of its career. These athletes have ped their thirties and are overtaken by physical or psychological glitches. But they can still bring a lot to the French team and we will have to count on them in the race for Olympic qualification.develops the high performance director.

On the traditional family photo of the tricolor delegation, the young guard has now taken place. Specialists in the 110m hurdles, Sasha Zhoya (21) and Just Kwaou-Mathey (23) are among the top athletes who could do well at these Worlds. And they are not alone. The young Cyréna Samba-Mayela (100m hurdles), Margot Chevrier (pole), Wilfried Happio (400m hurdles), Benjamin Robert and Gabriel Tual (800m) seem to be reaching their athletic maturity. “We will not erase the generational gap that has weighed on the French team since 2018 in a snap. But these young people have matured at high speed and we are trying to accelerate their emergence. “, argues Romain Barras. In Budapest, two of the Blues are under 25.

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