You who are pure Parisian by birth, how to explain your installation in Ardèche?
“With my wife, we really wanted to change our lives. As his father is in Aubenas, we already knew the region, we liked it. We were looking for a business to take over and we came across an opportunity at La Voulte, the tobacco press previously run by Guy Camberabero. The wink is that I was born the same year (1970) as the title of French rugby champion at La Voulte (where Guy Camberabero played with his brother Lilian, Editor’s note). I also wanted to keep the name of the store, »Le Drop » and the rugby ball that sits in front”.
Had you ever met Jean-Luc Alès, the founder of the Musée des Sports de Cruas?
“We met a long time ago at a meeting in Aubenas where I came with the France team (Philibert has 26 selections, Editor’s note). There was also the Albenassienne Delphine Combe, (specialist in the 100 and 200 m, Editor’s note)”.
How did you start athletics?
“I was a very rambunctious kid so my mother pushed me into the club near my home, in the 20th arrondissement of Paris. And then chance did things well. One day, as we were looking for a more upscale club, we inquired at the town hall of the 12th arrondissement and there we came across Guy Drut, who worked at Sports. He received us and directed me to one of his last trainers, a certain Jacques Piasenta. I was 12 years old and Jacques will remain my only coach throughout my career. I joined AC Joinville before leaving for US Créteil in 1986. I found myself at the start with Caristan, confirmed athletes so that motivates me. We get caught up in the game and then it’s off…”.
“I needed to do something else”
What is your best sporting memory?
« The Mediterranean Games in Athens (in 1991) where I was entitled to La Marseillaise at 10:30 p.m. when there weren’t many people left in the stadium »
And the worst ?
“My injury a week before a European Junior Championship, when I had flown through the season. I collapsed in the playoffs.
Do you want to get involved in athletics?
“No, I have no plans in this. I bathed in the hedges since very young, I gave. I needed to do something else. Kid, I never had posters in my room, of Carl Lewis or anyone. In fact, I am full of different sports even though I keep up to date with athletics news”.
And your son, with such an atavism (his mother is Christine Arron, editor’s note), did not take over?
“No, he’s more into art, into design preparation. I didn’t push him, I want him to flourish, to live his life. »
Has your sporting career helped you in your professional retraining?
“Yes, it helped me a lot to overcome obstacles, bad times, challenges. When you play sports, when you start early, it helps in everything you do afterwards. Sport is such a school, tough but fair. That’s what I’m trying to instill in my son. »