Olympic hosts France win first medal at end of athletics world championships

AP - Martin Meissner

The French men's 4x400m relay team came second behind the United States on Sunday night to win the country's first medal at the 2023 athletics world championships in Budapest.

Ludy Vaillant, Gilles Biron, David Sombe and Téo Andant finished in a national record of 2:58.45 seconds to claim silver. Britain was third.

Less than a year before the start of the Olympic Games in Paris, the performance of French athletes had raised eyebrows. Concerns over the abilities of the team are unlikely to disappear on the basis of one result.

Next week, supremos of the French athletics federation will meet the sports minister Amélie Castéra-Oudéa to discuss the debacle at the world championships.

In the last event of the championships, the women's 4x400m relay, Femke Bol produced a storming anchor leg to claim gold for the Netherlands.

On the first night of the championhsips, as she was battling for gold with the American Alexis Holmes, she tripped and dropped the baton just metres from the line.

Eight days later she maintained her poise to hunt down Stacey Ann Williams from Jamaica and snatch victory. It was the 23-year-old's second gold of the meeting. Britain got the bronze.

"We knew that every hundredth of a second would count so we had to do good baton changes and we did it," said Bol. "It's so amazing that we could all perform so well."


"It's a step down from last year," the 22-year-old Kenyan conceded. "But it's a medal and I must be grateful."

The Ukrainian, who won silver in Eugene, emerged triumphant with a jump of 2.01.

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