18th African Senior Athletics Championships-Labiche clinches high jump gold


LABICHE … African high jump championRunner-up two years back in Nairobi, Kenya, Labiche won Seychelles its third gold medal in the championships’ history with a height of 1.86m – a new Seychelles record – at the Charles de Gaulle stadium.

Labiche started the competition at 1.75m and cleared the height with her first jump and did the same at 1.80m. After skipping at 1.83m, she cleared 1.86m in one jump to win the women’s high jump gold medal on count-back.

Although South African Anika Smit cleared the same height, she settled for the runner-up spot and the silver medal as she did it in two jumps. The bronze medal went to Morocco’s Rhizlane Siba for her 1.75m jump.

After sealing the win, Labiche, who has demonstrated that she has a great future in track and field athletics if she sticks to what she has to do, failed in three attempts at 1.89m, a mark that would have added three centimetres to her Seychelles record which she had set on the same day.

Despite this big win, Labiche has still not qualified for the forthcoming XXX Olympic Games in London, England, as she did not meet the qualifying standard of 1.92m. She still stands a chance of making it to the Olympics if she receives an invitation.

Labiche, 19, is the third Seychellois African Senior Athletics Championships gold medallist after male triple jumper Paul Nioze in the 10th championships in 1996 in Douala, Cameroon, and female javelin thrower Lindy Leveau-Agricole in the 11th championships in 1998 in Dakar, Senegal.

Former Young Female Athlete of the Year Labiche was ranked second with a bar of 1.70m at the 17th African Senior Athletics Championship held at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya, two years ago.

In 2009, Labiche became Seychelles’ fourth African junior champion after male decathlete Donny Magnan (1st African Junior Athletics Championship in Algeria in 1994), female shot put thrower Helda Marie (5th African Junior Athletics Championship in Mauritius in 2001) and female heptathlete Céline Laporte (6th African Junior Athletics Championship in Garoua, Cameroon in 2003). She won the high jump gold medal with an effort of 1.69m at the ninth African Junior Athletics Championships in Mauritius.

Two years later (in 2011), she failed to defend the high jump gold medal, but still grabbed two medals – a silver and a bronze – to propel Seychelles to 18th out of 25 countries in the final medal standings at the 10th championship at the UB Stadium in Gaborone, Botswana. She settled for the silver with 1.70m in the high jump. Her bronze medal came in the heptathlon contested by six athletes. She was third overall to win the bronze medal with a total of 4,663 points – 173 points less than the total of Egyptian Haris Radwa Faty (4,839 points).

At last year’s 10th All-Africa Games, Labiche fetched Seychelles a bronze medal in the high jump event on a count-back after three jumpers finished with 1.80m.

A double Jeux de la Commission de la Jeunesse et des Sports de l’Océan Indien (CJSOI) gold medallist in Seychelles (in 2008 with 1.79m) and Reunion (in 2010 with 1.70m), Labiche claimed two gold medals at last year’s 8th Indian Ocean Island Games held here. She won the high jump gold by clearing the bar at 1.82m for a new Seychelles record. Her second medal of the gold hue came in the heptathlon with a total of 4,822 points (a personal best).

G. G

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