21 juni, 2018

Paris: Ibarguen, Lavillenie, Lasitskene To Jump In Paris

Fans of field events can rub their hands in glee. The 2018 edition of the MEETING de PARIS, on Saturday 30 June at the Charléty Stadium, promises to be an historic vintage. Indeed, the jumping competitions will play host to the very best in world athletics. Three events are on the programme: men’s pole vault, women’s high jump and triple jump. For each of them, the line-up is worthy of an Olympic final.

Among the men, the pole vault competition will gather together the top three performers in the world this season, plus the reigning world champion and the Olympic gold medallist at the Rio Games 2016. A delicious mix of confirmed stars and new hopefuls of the discipline. The most loyal athlete of them all to the French leg of the IAAF Diamond League, Renaud Lavillenie will hit the track at the Charléty Stadium as favourite. The Frenchman has bagged three of the six best jumps of the season, culminating with a performance of 5.95m achieved back in April in Austin, Texas.

One of the night’s star attractions will be the Swedish prodigy Armand Duplantis. The 18-year-old pole vaulter is currently second in the world with a jump of 5.93m, back on 5 May at Baton Rouge, a new junior world record. He will be up against Sam Kendricks, last year’s winner at the MEETING de PARIS, who has posted 5.84m this season. Among the other athletes competing in Paris are the Canadian Shawn Barber (5.92m in 2018), Polish athletes Piotr Lisek and Pawel Wojciechowski, and the Brazilian Thiago Braz.

Three women have reached or exceeded the 2m mark in the high jump this season and will be at the MEETING de PARIS. Mariya Lasitskene has not suffered a defeat in 43 consecutive competitions. It’s a series which the double reigning world champion fully intends to continue at the Charléty Stadium and she’s also aiming to improve on her best performance of the season (2.03m). However, she’ll have to keep an eye on the Belgian athlete Nafissatou Thiam, the Olympic and World heptathlon champion (2.01m in 2018), and Bulgarian Mirela Demireva (2.00m), whom she beat in the trials on 10 June at the Meeting in Stockholm. The Ukrainian Yuliya Levchenko, world number two in 2017, could also upset the ranking.

In the triple jump, the competition at the MEETING de PARIS is shaping up to be a unique face-off between the queen of the discipline, Colombian Caterine Ibarguen, 34, gold medallist at the Rio Games in 2016, double world champion (2013 and 2015), and the discipline’s latest sensation, American Tori Franklin. At 25 years of age, she really created a stir on 12 May by clearing 14.84m, securing the United States record and best performance in the world this year. It’s also worth noting the presence in the competition of the reigning world champion, Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas and Olga Rypakova, bronze medallist in London. This should enable French athletes Rouguy Diallo (14m26 yesterday in Montreuil, SB/PB) and Jeanine Assani-Issouf (14m25 in Montreuil yesterday, SB) to hunt down a peak performance with the European Championship in Berlin, for which they attained the required level of performance.