Troubled former French champion Coulibaly sentenced

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Évry (France) (AFP)

Former French 400m indoor champion Toumany Coulibaly was on Friday sentenced to three years in prison for the latest of a spate of burglaries.

Coulibaly, a serial offender, turned up in court for the sentencing -- 20 months of which were suspended -- wearing a French athletics' team shirt.

The 29-year-old, who won the 2015 French indoor title, pleaded guilty at a court in Evry, south of Paris.

Hid latest run-in with police came after a raid on a jewellers and an attempted break in at a phone store at a shopping centre in the Essonne region.

With several accomplices he made his escape in a stolen car which crashed into a police car.

Although he fled on foot he was arrested one month later after his DNA was detected on the getaway car's airbag.

As well as prison time the one-time Rio Olympics hopeful has been ordered to see a psychiatrist.

The presiding judge told him: "It's desperate coming from a boy with so much talent in his legs. It's almost self-destruction."

An expert psychiatrist told the court that "he (Coulibaly) sabotages his own performances."

The repeated burglaries were a source of "adrenalin", the expert witness suggested, with the wayward athlete "testing his limits and "putting himself in danger to feel in control and all-powerful".

Coulibaly told the court: "She (the psychiatrist) has made a perfect analysis. It's true.

"Today, I've lost everything. I've destroyed myself."

As to his future he said: "I've got to ask myself the right questions and ask for help."

In March, Coulibaly was sentenced to one year behind bars on similar charges. After that sentence was converted he was reimprisoned in November for a new theft.

"You have to use your detention wisely to work on yourself. It's not lost, it's not won, it all depends on you," the judge told him.