Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

PERSPECTIVE

Protecting heritage land against mining companies

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US tops list of most competitive economies

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

South African musician Bongeziwe Mabandla on his 'urban African folk'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Reshuffle and a televised act of contrition for Macron

Read more

THE DEBATE

Macron malaise: Can the French president reverse his plummeting popularity?

Read more

ENCORE!

Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy on the red carpet in Paris

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

The dictator hunter: Reed Brody on bringing despots to justice

Read more

FOCUS

France explores alternatives to prison

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Blind support or strategic move? Australia mulls embassy move to Jerusalem

Read more

Sports

The 200-metre champion who prefers a nice long sleep

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-08-02

Myriam Soumaré (pictured) was 18 when she first tried running, comparatively old in the world of athletics. And even after winning a gold medal for the 200 metres on Sunday, running is still not her passion in life.

When Myriam Soumaré leaves the running track, she likes to leave the world of athletics far behind her.

Even her 100 metre bronze medal in the 2008 European Championships did not convince her that athletics was to be the core focus of her life.

“In all honesty I didn’t really like it when I started at 18,” she said after running the 200 metres in 22.32 seconds at the Barcelona championships on Saturday, the third fastest speed recorded this year.

“Today it all went well, but I wouldn’t say it is really a passion of mine. Maybe it will never really be a passion. But I like what I have done.”

Soumaré, a Muslim, is careful to take off her headscarf when she races “in order not to impose my religion on others”, according to her trainer Olivier Darnal.
 
Darnal spotted the young sprinters potential six years ago. He said the 23-year-old part-time paediatric nurse “had never done any sport” when she turned up to a training session, aged 18, where he was coaching her older sister Aminata.
 
Natural talent
 
Darnal said he was thunderstruck when he saw her run for the first time: “Myriam was much, much faster than any of the other girls that I was training.
 
“But she wasn’t all that interested in putting in the time, but over the years she has become a little more committed to running.
 
“She is a detached, generous and lively person … Detached meaning when she leaves the stadium, she doesn’t think about athletics any more.”
 
Soumaré is, however, a prolific sleeper, averaging 12 hours a night, and takes an afternoon nap after getting home from work.
 
She lives with her parents, who are of Mauritian origin, and her four siblings, in Villiers-le-Bel, one of the French capital’s notorious northern suburbs and the scene of intense anti-police rioting in 2007.

Date created : 2010-08-02

  • ATHLETICS - EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

    France win thrilling relay final, hat-trick of golds for Lemaitre

    Read more

  • EUROPEAN ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

    France's Myriam Soumare wins 200-metre gold medal

    Read more

COMMENT(S)