Catastrophic sports record (2 medals, no title), a failed organization and the specter of doping that resurfaced with the Amdouni affair: the France team did not shine at the Doha Worlds. Everything is to be reviewed less than a year from the Tokyo Olympics and in the Paris-2024 perspective.
. Results at half mast
After the six podiums of Rio 2016 and the five wins at the World Championships in London a year later, the Blues have suddenly backtracked. Quentin Bigot (silver hammer) and Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (bronze 110 m hurdles) are the two trees that hide a forest of disillusionment.
In great difficulty all season, the usual leaders have not logically been at the level (Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, Jimmy Vicaut, Christophe Lemaitre), some also beginning to bear the weight of years (Renaud Lavillenie, Mélina Robert-Michon) . To this dark picture, we must add the lack of motivation Yohan Diniz, great favorite of the 50 km market who gave up after severely pinned the holding of Worlds in Qatar. The injury of world record-holder Kevin Mayer, forced to withdraw from the decathlon death in the soul, did not help the French either.
In total, there were only 7 finals to put in the tooth for the Tricolores, compared to the 14 of London in 2017, a competition they had completed in the 4th place in the ranking of nations (24th in 2019 ). And too few satisfactions are counterweight (Alexandra Tavernier 6th of the hammer, Djilali Bedrani 5th of the 3,000 m steeplechase).
"We did not send back a positive collective image of French athletics", could not help but recognize the National Technical Director Patrice Gergès, who had arrived at the head of a plethoric delegation in Doha (60 athletes).
The lack of relief on the horizon is the other issue of concern for the Federation ten months of the Tokyo Olympics and 5 years of a rendezvous not to be missed, the Paris Olympics.
"It's the end of a cycle, and then there is a generation for Paris-2024 that arrives but is a little tender," lamented the President of the French Federation (FFA) André Giraud.
. Staff exceeded
These Worlds have also been marked by a certain laxity in the functioning of the team of France and it is all the authority of the DTN which is disputed today. The discomfort is palpable, Pierre-Ambroise Bosse has dropped a little phrase heavy on France Télévisions September 29. "Ghani, we miss you," he said in reference to the predecessor of Patrice Gergès, the emblematic Ghani Yalouz, at the head of the National Technical Direction during a particularly good period for the Blues (2009-2017 ).
The presence at the hotel of the French of a hypnotist, not accredited for the World Championships and who performed a session without the approval of the DTN, has also made much talk.
"I want people to become aware of what happened and we can not do anything with anyone," said Patrice Gergès.
And what about the hasty departure, for "personal reasons" of the medical director Jean-Michel Serra, leaving the Blues with a single doctor during the competition. The disclosure on social networks of photos attesting to his relationship with the specialist of the 3.000 m steeple Ophélie-Claude Boxberger, which he had always denied, weakened him. He had already been pinned in June for having worried about the number of controls undergone by the athlete with the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) without informing his superiors.
. The Amdouni thorn
The shadow of doping also hovered over the Blues in Doha with the revelations of the German ARD channel concerning Morhad Amdouni, officially absent from the Worlds on injury. At this stage, the European Champion of the 10,000m is not subject to disciplinary proceedings but ARD has strongly questioned it by broadcasting Whatsapp messages in which a person presented as a supplier of doping products claims payment .
Another embarrassing affair for French athletics, as marathon runner Clemence Calvin has been temporarily suspended since April on suspicion of evading doping control.
The AFLD quickly reacted after the broadcast of the report, clearly suggesting that it was investigating Amdouni while he assured AFP have "nothing to do with it". What to plummish a little more atmosphere at the Blues and the FFA.
© 2019 AFP