From medicine to athletics: How 33-year-old Marie Ta Lou broke the African record twice

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Marie Ta Lou made headlines on the 10th of August, 2022 for a record-breaking feat at the Diamond league Herculis meet in Monaco. The 33-year-old shattered the African women’s 100 meters record by 0.06 seconds with a time of 10.72 seconds. The former record which stood at 10.78 seconds was set by Marie Ta Lou herself at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics on the 30th of July 2021.

Marie Ta Lou has reset the record time twice.

At the Herculis meet, she placed third behind Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson and Fraser-Pryce even though she blasted off with an African record-setting time.

Marie Ta Lou is one of the most decorated female African sprinters of all time. She has an impressive career record of 2 silvers and 1 bronze at the World Championships; 1 silver at the world indoor championships; 3 golds, 2 silvers and 6 bronzes at the African Championship; 3 golds and 2 bronzes at the All African Games; and 1 gold medal at the continental cup: This brings her medal count to 21.

Marie Ta Lou at the Herculis meet in Monaco

Marie Ta Lou Bio

Marie Ta Lou was born Gonezie Marie-Josée Dominique Ta Lou on the 18th of November, 1988 in Bouafle, Ivory Coast.

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She initially started her career as a football player till the age of 20 in 2008 when her elder brother encouraged her to change to a track career. Though opportunities came for her to play football on a professional level, her brother declined.

1988 Ivory Coast 100-meter champion-turned coach, Florence Olonade, who happened to be a friend of Marie Ta Lou’s mother, invited the then 20-year-old Marie for a try-out. For a newbie, Marie outperformed the other athletes who had been training with Florence Olonade.

She began training for the sprint events at the time while she was still studying for her high school diploma. Her mother was now against her pursuing the sprinting career even further as she was convinced a future for Marie in professional sprinting was uncertain. For a more stable and certain future, she encouraged her daughter to study medicine: At the same time, she excelled in local and national sprinting championships.

In late 2008, she gained admission to the Universite d’Abobo Adjame in Abidjan to study medicine. After struggling to keep up with her studies and her budding athletic career, she changed her medicine programme to Accounting and Finance.

Her sprinting career continued to flourish and she received a 4-year scholarship to study in China from the national athletics federation. She had initially planned to study Physiotherapy but was disappointed when told the only programme offered to foreign students was mandarin. She decided to pursue the programme anyways.

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She made her first international appearance at the World University Games in 2013, where she performed abysmally. She decided to leave school to return to her home country to revitalise her sprinting career.

She made the right decision as she excelled in the African Championships the following year in 2014 with two silver medal wins in the 200m and 4*100 m races, and a bronze in the 100 m race.

Her career grew from strength to strength afterwards.

Marie Ta Lou Age

Marie Ta Lou is currently 33 years old and would turn 34 on the 18th of November.

Marie Ta Lou Education

Marie Ta Lou studied medicine in 2008 at the Universite d’Abobo Adjame in Abidjan before switching to Accounting and finance. She left to study in China in 2010 but returned to Ivory Coast in 2013 to focus on her career.

Marie Ta Lou Husband

Marie Ta Lou shared a post with her over 79 k followers on Instagram about her engagement to a native of Trinidad and Tobago and is set to get married.

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