Labiche takes aim at 1.92m height at Olympics


Labiche takes a bite of her silver medalThe female high jumper was speaking to the local media after stepping off the Qatar Airways flight and being met by Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (Socga) president Antonio Gopal, community development special advisor Dan Frichot, National Sports Council and Seychelles Athletics Federation officials.

“I could have cleared 1.91m. I’m sure I could. And I’m now targeting 1.92m at the Olympics,” said Labiche.

The 19-year-old clinched Seychelles its first ever medal at any world championship in athletics – be it at youth, junior or senior level. She won the high jump silver medal after clearing 1.88m at the first attempt inside the Montjuic Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday on the sixth and final day of the 14th International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Junior Athletics Championships.

“This is definitely a big achievement. I had high expectation before leaving Seychelles for Barcelona. I had to take part in the qualifiers on Friday, had a day rest Saturday and competed in the final on Sunday. The competition was really tough and I had to sweat to win the silver medal.

“I have written a piece of history and broke the Seychelles record as promised. I’m proud of myself,” added Labiche, who is in her final year as a junior.

The reigning African high jump champion added that she dreams of winning an Olympic medal in 2016, but knows that it will take a lot of hard work.

She noted that although her coach, Cuban Carlos Vizcaino Sanchez, is still in Barcelona attending a meeting, she will resume training on her own after taking some rest before joining the rest of Team Seychelles for London to star in the Olympics.

Labiche was seen as a surprise guest in Sunday’s high jump final showdown which was originally billed a clash between Russia’s European junior champion Mariya Kuchina and Italian world leader Alessia Trost, who won the gold medal with a height of 1.91m.

With a bar of 1.88m, Russian Kuchina finished third on count-back behind Lissa Labiche and Germany's Alexandra Plaza was ranked fourth after attaining the same height.

After achieving the feat of becoming the first Seychellois to qualify for a final of any track and field world championship in the qualifiers on Friday with a bar of 1.84m, Labiche proved to be a surprising opponent in Sunday’s final, getting a national junior and senior record of 1.88m with first time clearances at every height until she reached 1.91m which proved to be a height too far for her.

Labiche has been on a roll over the past two months. After improving the Seychelles record to 1.85m on Saturday June 9 – day two – of the National Championship at Stad Popiler, she won the 8th African Senior Athletics Championships high jump gold medal on June 29 in Porto-Novo, Benin, with a bar of 1.86m for a new Seychelles record which she improved to 1.88m in Barcelona on July 15.

G. G.