15.09.2021 Athletics

French athletics chiefs seek new director of high performance after Tokyo flop

By Paul Myers - RFI
LISTEN SEP 15, 2021

French athletics chiefs are hunting a new director of high performance after the sudden resignation on Wednesday of Florian Rousseau.

The 47-year-old announced his departure for personal reasons just a month after the woeful performance of French track and field athletes at the Tokyo Olympics.

Kevin Mayer's silver in the decathlon was the only return from the Games. Of the 32 other medals harvested by French athletes eight came in the judo and five in the fencing.

This tally does not take into account the medals won by athletes who competed in the Tokyo Paralympics 2021.

"Even if I was disappointed by the results in Tokyo, I am satisfied with the results of the young people and other actions set up around the French team," said Rousseau.

"I have achieved my mission. I knew when I accepted that it would be a real challenge ... and it has been."

Rousseau, who won three gold medals at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics in track cycling, took over as director of high performance at the French athletics Federation (FFA ) in January 2020.

That appointment came in the aftermath of a poor show at the 2019 world athletics champions in Doha. The French delegation returned from Qatar with two medal - Quentin Bigot's silver in the men's hammer and Pascal Martinot-Lagarde's bronze in the men's 110 metres hurdles.

FFA president, André Giraud, said on Wednesday that a new command structure would be set up with Rousseau's replacement.

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