It has been around for a few years but fails a little despite its constant progress. After having tasted the joys of a podium at the Worlds in Doha in 2019, Quentin Bigot takes on a new place of honor, deserving and terribly frustrating for a competitor. Fourth in the world in London in 2017 and fifth at the Olympic Games last year in Tokyo, the hammer thrower from Lorraine still finished in the worst place in the final, fourth, on Saturday in Eugene, Oregon (United States).

In a discipline in full expansion and which offers a rare density, it was necessary to cross the barrier of 80 meters to claim to be among the three best. Quentin Bigot succeeded (80.24 meters). Insufficient, he should have beaten his personal best (80.55 meters) to get on a new podium.

“It’s kind of half fig, half grape. Inevitably, a little disappointed not to have brought back a charm. On the other hand, I am proud of the competition, of a very good regularity, he confided, I threw at 80 meters. Not many hammer throwers have done that in a world championship final. 80 meters on D-Day is tough. »

As expected and as for ten years, it was the Polish pitchers who dominated the competition. Pawel Fajdek – four-time world champion – added a fifth title to his collection (81.98 metres) and Wojciech Nowicki – reigning Olympic champion – took the silver medal (81.03 metres). The Norwegian Eivind Henriksen completes the trio, a few tens of centimeters in front of the tricolor pitcher: 80.87 against 80.24 meters.

Ejected from the podium on the 3rd throw

On Friday, Bigot had easily passed the qualifying mark with a quiet throw at 77.95 meters. On Saturday, however, he had ideally launched his competition with a throw a notch above, 79.52 meters. He only held the lead after the first try, the podium after two throws and was ejected from it on the third. In the fifth, as he flirted with the 80 meters, he took his head in his hands, aware that despite his consistency at a very high level, the reward eluded him.

Fourth world performer of the season before landing in Oregon, the Frenchman had beaten his personal record twice in 2022 by reaching 80 meters for the first time: twice with 80.14 m on May 29 in Forbach, then 80, 55m on June 5 in Chorzow. In Oregon, he hit the second-best throw of his career on third down.

Before the competition, he announced to Le Monde: “A medal will be played beyond 80 meters and maybe around 81 or 82 meters. The former vice-world champion had a hollow nose, but he once again lacked that little extra that turns disappointment into satisfaction. “There is no questioning at all. The world level is rising in a crazy way but I am the level. Since I have been training with Pierre-Jean [Vazel, his coach], I have taken 1m to 1.50m per season. We will continue, he insisted, When you do 80 meters, you feel good (laughs). »

His performance from Doha – 78.19 meters – would have placed him only 8th today. “My contest average is 79.60 meters. This is the best competition of my life. I would have had to beat my record really well to get a medal. It’s sports. Henriksen, it only took him one jet to pass me by. »

Paris 2024 objective

Freight train driver, the Messin will not have time to dwell on this failure for too long. In August, he will have the opportunity to break his curse at the European Championships in Munich. From next year, he will again be one of the favorites at the Budapest Worlds, the last stage before the meeting of a career, the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Trained by Pierre-Jean Vazel for six years, with whom he has formed an atypical and close-knit duo since his youthful error – a suspension for doping which kept him away from competition between 2014 and 2017 – Bigot does not deviate an inch in his ambition. He is aiming for the Olympic title. “I have no limits to have. In 2024 for the Paris Olympics, we would like to achieve 83 meters in the year, which could ensure me the title of Olympic champion, “he said before the 2022 Worlds.

One of the smallest players on the board, Quentin Bigot is known for his impeccable throwing technique. He and his coach therefore know his area of ​​​​progress. Perhaps the inches that separate him from regular international podiums lie in pure PTO.

“I am technically very fair, it is sometimes said in the industry that I am the best technician in the world. On the other hand, on the strength, I am really below all my competitors, he confided in a press conference before his entry into the running, In the snatch in the weight room, I lift 100 kg, my competitors 150. In squat, I have a maximum at 220, they at 300.” No resignation in this observation since he is certain of it: “But strength can be acquired up to 40, 45 years without problem. Every year I gain strength. »

His trainer, Pierre-Jean Vazel, confirms after this new 4th place in the world: “We project ourselves on Paris. The hammer is fine. There is no age limit. He has a margin of physical progress. There is nothing simpler than gaining strength, but you have to find the balance between strength and relaxation. »

The French team will have to wait to win its first medal. On Sunday, the hurdlers Sasha Zhoya and Pascal Martinot-Lagarde represent the next tricolor chances. An early trigger would be welcome to avoid reliving the nightmare of Tokyo, where the first Olympic medal was slow in coming. The French Federation only escaped zero points thanks to the 2nd place of Kevin Mayer. Especially since this year, the decathlete closes the program on the last day of the Worlds, July 24.