Wilhem Belocian, the time of confirmation

Wilhem Belocian, the time of confirmation

Resilience is a concept that is no stranger to Wilhem Belocian. “I know I come back all the time,” assures the hurdles specialist (60 meters indoors, 110 meters outdoors) who, for more than ten years and a title of junior world champion, is presented as one of the greatest hopes in the world of athletics, but who, since his move to seniors in 2015, has had a journey full of many pitfalls. To the point of not having yet reached, at 26, the fullness of his potential.

Despite some successes – bronze medalist at the European Championships in the 110-meter hurdles in 2016, a European title last year in the 60-meter hurdles – this precocious talent notably missed his first two Olympic meetings. : disqualified in series at the 2016 Games in Rio because of a false start, he was unable to defend his chances in 2020 in Tokyo because of an injury, eliminated from the series.

On Sunday March 20, at the Indoor Worlds in Belgrade (Serbia), the Guadeloupean will be, for his first participation in this competition, one of the contenders for victory, with his compatriot Pascal Martinot-Lagarde and behind the American favorite Grant Holloway , world record holder for the distance (7 s 29). For this, he will have to negotiate three races during the day: series, semi-final and final.

Read also: At the Tokyo Olympics, two Frenchmen in the 110m hurdles final but no medals

After beating his personal outdoor best in 2021 (13.15s) and despite missing the Olympics, Wilhem Belocian is in excellent shape this winter. He won at the French indoor championships on February 27 and at the Paris-Bercy indoor meeting on March 6.

“I knew I was going to come back, it’s one of my strengths. I am a relentless, until I have achieved what I want, I do not stop. That’s why I get up all the time. »

In Rio, his Olympic failure came close to bringing him to a fatal halt. “The failure at the Games, at 21, was a big blowtestifies her trainer, Kitty Cham. We had to get over it and it took almost two years. » When the mind fails, the physical derails. “His body had really let go. Foot surgery followed. This delayed his return”adds the one who has been taking care of the athlete full-time since 2014.

Far from repressing his past difficulties, Wilhem Belocian claims them: “Rio was traumatic. I had a lot of expectations. Tokyo was also a disappointment. The Games are four years of preparation. It’s always hard to swallow when things go wrong. » The trainer does not deny this difficult past either. “We do not put aside the negative things due to injuriesshe admits. But Wilhem has this ability to remobilize, to listen to advice, to accept the environment and to work. If he gets back into it every time, it’s because he’s passionate and he likes it. »

“I am very attached to my island”

Extremely rare case, while athletes of his level born in overseas territories are often forced to come to mainland France, the hurdler has never left Guadeloupe, outside of training or competition periods. A structure adapted to performance was built on site. “I am very attached to my island. I have everything in place so that I can stay there. I have my performance unit, my coach, my family”he explains.

Eight years after his world junior title, winning world gold in Serbia would be an excellent signal on the road to his third Olympic Games, which he hopes to finally succeed, in Paris in 2024. “Now is the time to put the work of all these years into practice. It reaches maturity on high hedges (1.06 meters), launches Ketty Cham. You have to look for good chronometric bases, good podium bases and consolidate all that to explode when necessary. »

For that, the duo knows that they will have to lower their times even further. Author of a 12 s 99 in junior (2014), on smaller hurdles, Wilhem Belocian could get closer and even beat the French record (12 s 95) held by his current rival, Pascal Martinot-Lagarde. “Even though it’s not math, I don’t put any limits on it. He must be able to do it as a senior too.predicted her trainer.

He will have the opportunity during the summer season, which he hopes will be rich. After the Indoor Worlds in Belgrade, he will be entitled to another world chance if he manages to qualify for the Outdoor World Championships in Eugene (Oregon), from July 15 to July 24. An ideal year to start building a track record worthy of the name and its potential.

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