Promoted to head of the Paris meeting set, Jean-Pierre Watelle is a happy man. This Friday evening, it’s a shower of stars that will break into a Charléty stadium (6 p.m. to 11 p.m.) announced to be sold out. “The date of the meeting well placed in the Diamond League calendar and the fact of being one year from the Paris Olympic Games” played a big role, according to the Northerner. But not only.
The one who for years has been concocting the prestigious indoor meeting in Liévin has forged close ties with certain managers and athletes. In particular the Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the new star of the middle distance, who had beaten his first European junior record in Liévin during a race specially concocted for him at the request of his dad, or the Italian Marcell Jacobs, champion Olympic 100 m, who came to run in the North at a time when the sprinter was struggling to find meetings.
Memories anchored in the memory of these two champions who agreed to come to Paris. “Setting up a set is not necessarily a question of budget, everyone knows that the one in Paris is far from being one of the most important, believes Jean-Pierre Watelle. Above all, I didn’t want to bet on a single event but to try to attract as many top athletes as possible. »
Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, the new star we’re fighting for
Olympic champion, world champion and world record holder in the 400m hurdles, Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone is the athlete in vogue. The American will line up in the 400m on Friday. “I absolutely wanted her to be present, breathes Jean-Pierre Watelle, stars in his eyes. To convince her, I told her that she was the most important athlete in the world, that’s really what I think. In addition to the American who is launching her season in the capital, we will find the Dominican Marileidy Paulino, Olympic and world vice champion in the 400m and the 2019 world champion, Salwa Eid Naser.
The women’s 200m, with the American Gabrielle Thomas, bronze medalist at the Olympic Games, facing the British multiple medalist Dina Asher-Smith, will also be worth the detour, as will the 5,000m where the Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey, who holds the world record, will line up against Faith Kipyegon, world record holder in the 1,500m.
Marcell Jacobs, finally back
Injured in the back, the Italian Olympic champion in the 100m delayed his return for a long time. “I was a little worried, but he’s there! smiles Jean-Pierre Watelle. “This race should have been my third of the season, it will finally be my back-to-school race, breathes the sprinter. I wanted to make sure all my physical glitches were behind me. This race will be ideal to launch my season and achieve the goals I have set myself, the world gold medal is the only one missing from my record. On the Charléty track, he will meet the American, Noah Lyles, the 200m world champion.
Jakob Ingebrigtsen attacks the world record
“There was no event on the program for him, but Jakob Ingebrigtsen, whom I have known since he was a junior, asked me if it was possible to put him on a 2 mile so that he could s ‘attack the world record (held by the Kenyan Daniel Komen in 7′58′’61 since 1997)”, says the person in charge of the plateau. Barring disaster, the great world specialist in the 1,500m will at least bring down the best European brand of all time. Another attempt against a world record, that of the Ethiopian Lamecha Girma on 3000 m steeplechase.
Robert, Martinot-Lagarde and Mayer at the forefront
What could be more motivating for French athletes than to compete against big names? Crowned in Tokyo, the Kenyan Emmanuel Korir, also reigning world champion, will be at the start of the 800m, in which Benjamin Robert, winner last year, will try to shine. The 110m hurdles is also very promising with the inevitable Pascal Martinot-Lagarde and the rising star Just Kwaou-Mathey facing the American Grant Holloway, world champion. Mélina Robert-Michon, back to her best level, will also be at the party with what is currently best in women’s discus throwing. Finally, while the tricolor star Kevin Mayer will line up for a triathlon (length, 110m hurdles and shot put), the young hopefuls Jules Pommery and Erwan Konaté will participate in the length competition with the Greek Olympic champion Miltiadis Tedoglou.
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