Yanis Meziane

Yanis Meziane

A specialist in the 800-meter race and Polytech Sorbonne student

The Olympics? I'm not going there just to look good, I'm aiming to qualify for the final!

At the age of 21, Yanis Meziane is shaping up to be the great promise of the French 800 m and is the seventh athlete in our country's history to go under the 1'44" barrier. The young agrifood student at Polytech Sorbonne, who recently won a gold medal at the European Espoirs Championships, is preparing to take part in the next Olympic Games.

How did your passion for athletics come about?
Yanis Meziane
:You have to understand that, at the start, my favorite sport was handball. I'd watched a lot of the games at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and, after the French team's victory, I wanted to join a handball club.

At the same time, my father enrolled me in athletics. So I practiced both sports for around ten years until I went to university... At that point, I had to make a choice. I chose athletics, as I was beginning to show promise in this sport. Then, as the years went by and I started competing, in track and field and it turned into a real passion.

At first, I did a bit of everything: I ran, jumped and threw. Then I turned to the 400 m, cadet category. As my top speed was limited, I decided to specialize in the 800 m as a junior (U20). That's how I became a double lap specialist. Beyond the race itself, I really like the tactical dimension of the event, which combines speed, endurance and intelligence, particularly in terms of positioning.

What are you currently studying?
I'm in my 4th year at Polytech Sorbonne, studying agri-food engineering. I chose Sorbonne University because it offers the Polytech engineering school pathway (PeiP), enabling access to these schools without going through the classic competitive entrance exams, which is more suited to my sporting background.

I've always had an interest in scientific subjects - biology has always been a passion of mine - so it seemed obvious to me that I should go into agri-food engineering.

How do you reconcile your studies with top-level sport?
I benefit from a flexible timetable that makes it easier for me to practice my sport while continuing my studies. The advantage of athletics is that it doesn't impose strict time constraints, so I can train at any time. In practical terms, a typical week consists of seven training sessions, lasting between one and two hours, at the end of the day. The sessions are varied: running, weight training, running techniques, VMA (maximum aerobic speed), pace work, specific training over 800 m, etc.

I'm also lucky enough to be part of the high-level sports scheme set up by Sorbonne University, and the Foundation's Passport for the Olympics scholarship program, which helps me financially through a grant, with the support of Crédit Agricole Île-de-France Mécénat. This assistance is very useful in financing my travel between the various places where I work, as well as training courses, which can be costly. Beyond that, it's motivating to know that I'm being encouraged in my Olympic project!

What do the Paris Olympic Games mean to you?
It means a lot! It's a prestigious competition, the dream of every athlete. Also, the fact that they're taking place in France in 2024 is exceptional, it's a unique opportunity to represent your country on home soil. I'm going to make sure I stay focused on what I know how to do, so I can show the best of myself.

How do you prepare for this?
 Y.M.: I prepare both through training, and with a healthy lifestyle, which has to be exemplary. I don't drink soda or alcoholic beverages, I'm careful about what I eat (without depriving myself of everything), and I watch my sleep. I also consult a physiotherapist regularly.

Preparation is not limited to the last few days before a competition. It starts right now by striking a good balance between my training, my studies, which I feel are essential, and my social life.

What are your goals for the Olympics?
They haven't yet been defined, but it's clear that I want to give it everything I've got, and be in the best possible shape. I'm not going there to make up the numbers... and I'm aiming to qualify for the final!

Do you have a lucky charm that you bring to competitions?
I don't know if it's lucky, but I always wear a Kenyan bracelet that I bought at the World Junior Athletics Championships held there in 2021.

Do you have a ritual before each competition?
When I enter the track, I put myself in a bubble and talk to myself to motivate myself and get the adrenalin flowing.

What's your most memorable competition?
So far, my most memorable event is winning the European U23 title in Finland this summer. What's more, I shared the podium with one of my best friends, who finished third. It was simply magical!

Photographie © Mathieu Génon

Notable Achievements


  • Gold medal - European Championships U23 (under 23) 
  • Silver medal - Brussels Belgacom Memorial van Damme      


  • Gold medal - Meeting International Athlétisme Montgeron-Essonne    


  • Bronze medal - European Championships U20 (under 20)