By Aline Chatel
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Cadet then junior French champion in the 60 meter hurdles, Normandy cadet record holder in the 110 meter hurdles, Oscar Dugue is one of the great hopes of French hurdles. The 17-year-old high school student, graduated from Caen Athletic Club, coming out of a successful winter. On Sunday May 8, 2022, he ran for the first time with the seniors over the 106 centimeter hurdles. Second in the 110 meters in 15s15 despite a largely disrupted preparation, he recalled that he would surely have to be reckoned with in future years.
But while waiting to settle among the adults, he is aiming for big deadlines in junior, that is to say with hurdles of 99 cm. The objective is clear: qualification for the world championships in Colombia at the beginning of August. Oscar Dugué will have to go below 13s65, he whose personal best is 13s69… on hurdles of 91 cm.
Oscar, how did you feel about your hard-fought back-to-school race in the first round of the interclubs?
It was indeed my comeback race and my first race over 1.06m hurdles, the senior height. As a junior, I usually run over 99cm hurdles. The competition is difficult because the preparation was difficult. I didn’t train for two weeks because of the holidays, then I was sick twice… Considering the circumstances, and putting things into perspective, I’m quite satisfied. I wanted to do less than 15s. I do 15s15, it’s good in these conditions. We’ll see how it goes in the second round (this Sunday, May 22, editor’s note) with better preparation.
Is it good to test yourself on senior height?
I always have apprehension when I climb the height of the hedge, but I realize that it is not that difficult and that technically, I manage. Testing the 1.06, it scared me at first. But the first time I crossed it, it made me want to stop the 99 and do more than that! It’s always good to try. I see the difference at all levels, including in terms of time. I realize that there is still a long way to go, but I have time. I am junior 1, I have two years left before moving on to 1.06.
Does being in the first year junior allow you to be more relaxed on the results or are you always at the bottom?
My coach doesn’t want me to do a season on the 1.06 because I have a season to do as a junior on the 99 hurdles. You shouldn’t mix things up. I still have things to learn. Being on 99 will help me improve. I still have the objective of qualifying for the world championships this summer. It’s nice to be on 1.06 because I’m racing against big guys. When I see them outside, I tell myself that they run super fast over such high hedges. I realize that I can run fast too. It’s quite satisfying.
“I just live my passion”
The objective of the season is therefore qualification for the world junior championships?
Yes, we will do everything for that. That’s why we are concentrating on the hurdles at 99. We are going to do a real preparation and we will see what happens. I don’t want to talk too much before. You never know… I’m going with the idea of doing everything I can and I won’t necessarily be disappointed, even if I have goals to achieve. I tell myself that I have the possibility of doing it. Sometimes I go into crazy scenarios, sometimes I go into horrible scenarios. I already imagined almost everything. Anything can happen.
What does athletics represent in your life?
I am very invested because it is a passion. It’s not like it’s a chore to train and compete. I think anyone with a passion can relate to that.
Doesn’t having a linear route to performance add some pressure?
I know that as an athlete, the future is very versatile. In addition, you have to be in the top ten in the world to be able to make a living from athletics. I will do everything to do it but I don’t put any pressure on myself. I will continue my studies next door. I just live my passion. Most of the time it’s fun. Of course, it’s always disappointing to have results below your expectations, but there are more good times than bad. But the bad times are also part of this passion. They allow you to better appreciate the best.
What are your dreams today? Are they unlimited?
I can’t say too much. As for the world championships, I imagine all the scenarios, one day doing the Olympics, racing against the best in the world who set incredible times, setting a world record… I imagine everything and nothing. I also tell myself that maybe I’ll stagnate or regress as I get older, that one day I’ll get drunk and that I’ll stop… I have to let the future decide.
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