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Munich European Championships: The decryption of the selection by Romain Barras

High Performance Director Romain Barras talks about the decisions taken by the selection committee for the European Championships in Munich (Germany), which will be held from August 15 to 21.

A new cycle from Munich

After having made the choice to take a tight selection to the world championships in Eugene, we wanted to start a new cycle from the European championships in Munich, with a much larger selection which includes 101 athletes. This is a record for the French team in the history of this competition, since the largest collective dates back to Budapest 1998, with 97 selected. This competition will serve as a basis for the Budapest Worlds in 2023, then the Paris Olympics in 2024.

The top 24 indicator

We wanted to open the selection to all athletes eligible according to the European Athletics criteria, provided they have the ability to be in the top 24 of their event. For this, we relied on the level of the races on the European top 24 of the summer 2022 report, taking into account the forces in presence expected on D-Day. We therefore excluded the representatives of the nations which are not authorized to take part to the competition, as well as athletes whose absence or withdrawal was already known. In competitions, where only 26 athletes are entered per event, we simply relied on the list of eligible athletes presented by European Athletics. Note that the French Elite 2022 outdoor champions were automatically selectable, regardless of their place on the continental balance sheet, from the moment they were eligible for European Athletics.

Manga rather than Belocian over 110m hurdles

We had a difficult decision to make on 110m hurdles. In addition to Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, invited as reigning European champion, and Sasha Zhoya and Just Kwaou-Mathey, priority after their participation in the Eugene Worlds, there remained a fourth ticket to be awarded to Wilhem Belocian or Aurel Manga , who were on waivers. Wilhem ran in 13”23 on April 30 in Jacksonville and Aurel in 13”29 on July 4 in Sotteville. Wilhem, injured in the hamstrings, was not at the French championships, a competition in which Aurel took second place. Wilhem is still in the rehabilitation phase. According to our medical team, he was fit to race in Munich. But being able to perform at the level we expect is something else entirely. We have therefore made the choice to select Aurel in relation to the proven state of form over the past few weeks. We also wanted to protect Wilhem, both physically and mentally. We are counting on him a lot for next year, then for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Priority World Juniors for Konaté

We have selected Jules Pommery, Tom Campagne and Augustin Bey to length. Erwan Konaté was also eligible, based on his performance last year. But we relied on the 2022 balance sheet to make our choice. The international period for achieving performance ends on July 26, so his result in the final of the U20 Worlds could not be taken into account. The fact that the return of the world championships from Cali is scheduled for August 9, with the jet lag to deal with and a departure for Munich three days later, also weighed in the balance. It seemed to us to be a risky sequence for an athlete still evolving in the junior category, while three jumpers were ahead of him in the balance sheet of the year at the time of the selection committee.

The other arbitrations

Over 800m, we had to decide between Yanis Meziane and Hugo Houyez, who are credited with the same performance in the 2022 balance sheet: 1’45”52. We have taken into account the direct confrontations between these two athletes, in particular during the French championships in Caen, where the first named beat the second in the final. On 3000 m steeplechase, where there were many eligible athletes, we relied on the summer results, with in order Mehdi Belhadj, Louis Gilavert and Djilali Bedrani, these three athletes having also taken the first three places during the French championships.

Two athletes in the men’s 400m

Gilles Biron (minimum European Athletics) and Thomas Jordier (French champion and eligible for the ranking) were selected individually. Loïc Prévot was also eligible for the 400m, but he did not participate in the French championships for this distance, preferring to line up only for the 200m. However, it was clearly indicated in our selection procedures that an athlete claiming selection had to take part in the national meeting in the discipline in which he was seeking a place, and this had been reminded to the people concerned by our specialty managers. We regretted the choice of Loïc and his trainer during the French championships, but the selection methods were known to all and must be respected in order to preserve fairness.

The absents

Hassan Chahdi had decided a long time ago to favor the world championships over Europe in Munich, and is in the recovery phase after his marathon in Eugene. On the injured side, Morhad Amdouni (10,000 m) is unfortunately not sufficiently recovered from an injury to his left foot. Ditto for Rouguy Diallo (triple jump), who was injured during the French championships. Lolassonn Djouhan (disc) was recently injured during a bench press session, and was also forced to give up, as was Fabrisio Saidy (4×400 m), victim of a grade 3 tear in his ischio -legs on the sidelines of the Eugene Worlds.

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