After a low-key 2020 season, reigning European 110m hurdles champion Pascal Martinot-Lagarde began his indoor season in sharp form at the Meeting Elite de Miramas on Friday (22) evening.
Martinot-Lagarde opened his account with a 7.64 clocking in the 60m hurdles heats but the 29-year-old powered to an even faster time in the final. Pushed all the way by his long-time domestic rival Wilhem Belocian, Martinot-Lagarde stopped the clock at a world leading 7.54 with Belocian a very close runner-up in 7.57.
“I am one-tenth away from my personal best, it’s not bad,” said Martinot-Lagarde as reported by L’Equipe.
As always, Martinot-Lagarde is planning a full indoor season and his next race will be in Karlsruhe, Germany on Friday when he faces reigning world indoor champion Andrew Pozzi from Great Britain who also succeeded Martinot-Lagarde as the European indoor champion in 2017.
The Frenchman will also go head-to-head with reigning world outdoor champion Grant Holloway from the United States at the Meeting de l’Eure in Val-de-Reuil on 14 February.
Martinot-Lagarde’s indoor season will climax at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Torun from 4-7 March when he will be looking to make the podium in the 60m hurdles for the fifth successive edition.
Cyrena Samba-Mayela also set an early season world lead of 8.06 in the 60m hurdles heat but the youngster had the misfortune of false-starting in the final which was won by Laura Valette in 8.10.
Other highlights included Carolle Zahi winning the women’s 60m in 7.19 and steeplechase specialist Djilali Bedrani winning the 1500m in 3:41.16.