The Montpellier player will take part in the weekend of February 26 and 27 in the French Elite indoor championships in Miramas, in the heptathlon.
Benjamin Hougardy was 17 when he arrived in Montpellier. The decathlon specialist was to stay a year and return to his native Belgium. He hasn’t left yet. “After my baccalaureate, I wanted to devote myself entirely to athletics and I landed here”, he remembers.
“Why Montpellier? Because the climate is better than in Belgium (laughs) and at that time there was one of the largest groups of decathletes in Europe or even in the world. I broke my record by almost 1,000 points during this famous first year. (From 6300 to 7250 points) and I qualified for the world junior championships.”
“I arrived in Montpellier in another universe”
Since he was little, Benjamin Hougardy has been walking the athletics tracks of Namur, Belgium and its surroundings. His uncle, coach of the national youth teams in the 4x400m relay, transmitted this passion to him.
“When I started, I was not very good except that I manage to progress every year and it never stopped, explains the 26-year-old athlete. When I was 15, I thought I had a good level in Belgium and then I arrived in Montpellier in another universe.”
Belgian decathlon champion on several occasions, including in 2020, the Montpellier A2M licensee has been training in the lair of the Philippidès stadium for several years alongside Kévin Mayer. With the French decathlete Ruben Gabo, they form a group of three athletes trained by Alexandre Bonacorsi accompanied by Jérôme Simian for physical preparation.
“You could say we’re having a good timesavor Benjamin Hougardy. I realize that I have a huge chance to train with the best decathlete in history. He brings me his experience, his vision of things and I transmit serenity to him.”
The Belgian dreams of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games
Hougardy kicked off his winter season perfectly with an internship in Reunion which reminded him that he had beaten his personal decathlon record on the island in 2020 with 7,761 points. At the end of January, in Aubière (Puy-de-Dôme), he achieved his best performance in the heptathlon (5,810 points).
He will be at the start of the combined seven events during the French championships in Miramas (Bouche-du-Rhône), this weekend. “As a Belgian, the final place doesn’t matter to me, support the one who, in fact, cannot be crowned champion of France. But my goal is to win the competition and break the 6,000 point mark.”
If it were to go as he wishes, Benjamin Hougardy could make his way to the World Indoor Championships, from March 18 to 20 in Belgrade, Serbia. The Belgian decathlete is also looking towards the summer with the European Championships in August in Munich or even the Worlds in Eugène in the United States in July. With in a corner of his head, the absolute dream: the Paris Olympic Games in 2024, because “Wearing the Belgian jersey, being part of the team and being supported by an entire country, is therefore a dream.”
The MA2M on the front line
The French Elite Championships will take place this weekend in Miramas. In addition to Benjamin Hougardy, seven MA2M athletes have qualified: Kévin Mayer and Jordan Rama in the 60m hurdles, Dorian Lairi in the high jump, Cérane Béal in the triple jump, Makenson Gletty in the shot put, Romain Didelot and Pierre Meulet in the jump lengthways.
The Montpellier club won five medals at the French U18 and U20 championships. Martin Jourdan took second place in the junior men’s 800m. Sydney Roquebrun (junior long jump), Matteo Larusso (400 m junior), Rigo Honvault (60 m hurdles junior) and Enzo Boulon (triple jump junior) left with a bronze medal.