Former Hawk superstar and multi-All-American Lenora Guion-Firmin cemented her place among the best in the world on the track this past weekend at the European Athletics U23 (Under 23) Championships held in Tampere Finland.
The speedster took gold in the women’s 400 meter and silver in the 200 meter and completed the sweep with a bronze in the 4x400m relay.
The European Athletics website (www.european-athletics.org) said it best in their headline, “Gion-Firmin confirms her class” as they recapped a thrilling event that saw six of the eight finalists in the event set lifetime bests. “She looked like the champion in waiting ever since she stepped on the track,” they said in their recap.
“Lenora Guion-Firmin of France confirmed it by setting a personal best of 51.68 to lift the 400m title. It looks very much like France has found a successor to Marie Jo Perec.”
Guion-Firmin wasn’t done yet. Just one hour later she stepped on the track to run the 200m.
“After her storming win in the 400m earlier in the afternoon, Lenora Guion-Firmin was always likely to be a threat.” She would take the silver, “with the tenacious Frenchwoman failing but 0.04 to catch her [Great Britain’s Jodie Williams]. For Guion-Firmin came the reward of a 22.96 personal best.”
Two days later, Guion-Firmin stepped on the track again, this time as part of the women’s 4 x 400m relay. Running the leadoff leg, she did not disappoint, “getting the baton round first in 51.22.” But it wasn’t to be as Poland and Romania held their own against the other French runners. France was still in first with 200m to go. They faded over the final 50m and Poland took gold (3:29.74), Romania silver (3:30.28) and France the bronze (3:30.64). Both of Poland’s and Romania’s times were records for the national U23.
“She is the best woman athlete to ever run at this school,” said head coach Ernest Barrett. “I am proud of her and knew she capable of great things; I think this is just the start of a lot of success she will have internationally.”
Guion-Firmin is the school record holder in both the 200 and 400 meter outdoor events.
Also competing in the championships was former Hawk and MEAC Champion, Petra Kubesova who runs for the Czech Republic. Kubesova, a distance specialist, took 17th in the 10,000 meter run with a time of 37:06.46.