French sprinter awaits Daegu — and replies from WMA on ideas

Francois, great at relays, looks ahead to worlds.

Francois Bontemps isn’t related to the 18th-century French general by the same name, I learn. But out 21st century sprinter is a warrior for our sport. I asked him to share details on his career, and he graciously replied. An engineer between jobs, he lives in a small city near Toulouse. “I’m 53 and I started athletics when I was 11 (in 1975),” he writes. “I started with hurdles but very early (in 1980) I switched to sprints.” Francois came close to qualifying for the European Championships, but he was on the French national under-23 team in 1985. His 100 PR is 10.56 and 200 in 21.30. He quit open track in 1994 because of his job. “Because my son expected to practice, I come back by chance in 2012 and planned to participate in European Indoor championship in San Sebastian. The reason? I was born just some miles away and it was a dream since to run in this area.” Surprised that he made the M45 final in 60 (at age 49), he decided to really come back for M50.

Francois continues:

In 2014 I participated in Budapest WMACI. Bad races in 60 and 5th in 200 (my top was too soon in the season) but big surprise because we won relay!

During Summer, I get bronze on European in Izmir in 100. (Unfortunately I was unable to take more vacation time to stay for 200 and relays!)

In 2015, Torun in Indoor. Wonderful memory: I finished sixth in 60 (I failed my start in final) and fourth in 200 (very high level in race), and we won again relay.

Lyon in summer: Difficult for me to combine family vacations and championships: I just come back from Greece to Lyon for 200 and I missed final by 0.01 second. After coming back home, I joined again Lyon one week later for relay but I never ran because [baton] fell between first and second runners.

2016: injury with tendinitius under foot from January to May. I went to Ancona, but missed final in 60 by 0.004 seconds and we finished second in relay. Very bad experience, difficult to run when you are not at 100 percent.

This year, I’m in the “better shape of my life.” First I tried combined event “just for fun” with a heptathlon in December (4434 points without really dedicated training). It was very good for me for my mindset and motivation. So I decided to add hurdles to my program.  

Two weeks ago, I won the French championship for first time (I finished 10 times second except one title on 100 in 2015) in 60 and 200. I broke my best with 7.48 in 60m, 24.04 in 200 and an incredible second place in 60 hurdles in 9.27 after only three races.

In three weeks I will go to Daegu with high ambitions — first to enjoy myself on track and outside and perhaps to get my first individual medals/titles in WMA.
I try to “make things move” on master tracks: on national level and also international. It is the reason why I sent my proposal to WMA and EMA and also to Aarhus organization (site of 2017 Eurovets meet). I never received an answer even if I have the opportunity to speak with EMA members. They said: “Interesting we will see.”

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February 28, 2017

2 Responses

  1. Matt C - March 1, 2017

    Good for him! Great work on and off the track!

  2. francois bontemps - March 28, 2017

    I have to update my profile after incredible week in Daegu.. 3 Personal Best and now a title of World Champion on 60m (7”44) Bronze medal on 200m (23”78) very closed to First (23”63) and silver (23”74) despite a “lane 4″ and to finish an incredible bronze medal on hurdles (9”17) after favorites “failed” for differents reasons…

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