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Ortega extends his winning start to the season in Marseille

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Spain’s Orlando Ortega defeated a strong French contingent to preserve his unbeaten start to the season at the Meeting de Marseille on Thursday (3), a World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze meeting.

Having already chalked up victories in Monaco (13.11), Szekesfehervar (13.21) and Chorzow (13.25) in recent weeks, Ortega ran his second fastest time of the season and a meeting record of 13.15 into a negligible headwind.

Wilhem Belocian finished second in 13.28 while European champion Pascal Martinot-Lagarde was slightly off the pace on his belated season’s debut, settling for third in 13.63.

There was a notable victory in the 100m hurdles for 19-year-old Cyrena Samba-Mayela who took the scalp of Belarus’ European champion Elvira Herman - 13.00 to 13.13. And Sasha Zhoya confirmed what an exciting prospect he is by winning the U20 110m hurdles in 13.28 into a 1.3 m/s headwind to move to eighth on the European all-time U20 list.

In-form British training partners Laura Muir and Jemma Reekie were also among the winners in Marseille last night. Fresh from a world leading 1500m in Stockholm, Muir was an unassailable winner in the 800m in 2:00.16 from Switzerland’s Lore Hoffmann in 2:01.47 although Reekie faced a much bigger challenge in the 1500m.

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Reekie crested the final bend with Romania’s Claudia Bobocea on her shoulder and poised to strike but the double European U23 champion gritted her teeth and kicked on for victory in 4:02.20 to Bobocea’s 4:02.67.

Reekie was just outside her outdoor lifetime best of 4:02.09 which she set last year although she has run even faster indoors, breaking the British indoor record with 4:00.52 in February. In-form Slovenian Marusa Mismas-Zrimsek was third in a lifetime best of 4:03.09 with European 5000m silver medallist Eilish McColgan fourth in 4:05.59.

The European contingent also performed well in the men's middle distance races although they were narrowly denied victories by world class opposition from Kenya and Morocco respectively. In the 800m, Elliot Giles finished second in a lifetime best behind world bronze medallist Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich, 1:44.34 to 1:44.68, and France's Azzedine Habz was second in the 1500m in 3:35.87 behind world 3000m steeplechase bronze medallist Soufiane El Bakkali in 3:34.51.

Belgium’s former world and European medallist Philip Milanov won the men’s discus with 63.51m and reigning Olympic silver medallist Melina Robert-Michon, now 41, won the women’s discus with 60.02m.

Due to a precaution, world decathlon record-holder Kevin Mayer only competed in the discus last night and he reached out to 49.65m.

Full results here.

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