France teenage hammer throwing talent Qurentin Bigot was one of the stars of the European Athletics Championships in the Estonian capital Tallinn this summer, winning a gold medal with an effort of 78.45m and he finished almost two metres clear of his nearest rival.
He threw a personal best of 79.76m with the 6kg implement in Luxembourg on 8 July to rank 10th on the European junior all-time list and perhaps the only frustration for the young thrower from Metz was that he did not beat David Chaussinand’s long-standing French junior record of 80.34m, which has stood since 1992.
In an interview with the French athletics federation website www.athle.com, Bigot talks about his super summer and his hopes for next year.
Q: You won at the European Athletics Junior Championships in July. What memories do you have of that competition?
A: It came after a year of hard preparation, with sacrifices and great seriousness. I set myself a target, with my coach, of 78 metres, which I managed to achieve. The victory at the Europe Athletics Junior Championships was the culmination of my passion for the hammer. Regarding the competition itself, the idea was to ensure that I got a good throw on the first attempt and then improve from there, and that’s what happened. For me, it was a beautiful contest.
Q: A few days later, you were then on the podium of the France senior championships. How did that feel?
A: I finished third after starting as the fourth-placed thrower on the rankings. In theory, I was more than six metres from the podium and I more or less stopped training after Tallinn so I actually went to Albi (the venue for the championship) without pressure and my competitive spirit just came back. It’s a start in a major competition for seniors, it’s very motivating.
Q: What are your ambitions for next season?
A: There will be 2012 European Athletics Championships, and then the Olympics; these are my goals of the year. I want to get to the top and improve my personal best. I still have room for improvement with my muscle development because I have not done much work in this area in the past.
Q: You seem very passionate about your event?
A: I want to dedicate myself full-time in the hammer. This is my life. I get up, and I think and eat hammer throwing. I am actually a second-year electrical engineering student and I use the gym at my college, following a deal established with the principal. I can even bring my personal equipment. I love the feeling of speed, strength and relaxation that can be felt when launching the hammer, and to see it hanging in the air.
Q: Raphaël Piolanti (a two-time finalist at the World Championships) is your coach; how is your relationship?
A: He shared his passion with me. He’s almost like a second father to me and he is a very good friend. We train together but our relationship goes beyond the hammer. Raphaël is a model of technique and perseverance.
Q: There seems to be a young generation of great throwers on the rise in France, not only you but Frédéric Dagee, Prescilla Lecurieux, Killian Durechou, Alexia Sedykh. How did this happen?
A: I don’t think there has ever been a generation (in France) as strong as this in the throws. We really want to succeed. We have talent and we will prove it. The momentum that was there in the 90s got a bit lost but we are ready to show what we are capable of.
Source: European Athletics