Promoted to head of the Paris meeting, Jean-Pierre Watelle is a happy man. This Friday night, it is a rain of stars that will sweep into a Charléty stadium (18 p.m. to 23 p.m.) announced to sell out. "The date of the meeting well placed in the calendar of the Diamond League and the fact of being one year away from the Olympic Games in Paris" played for many, according to the Northerner. But not only.
The man 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 in Liévin his first European junior record during a race specially concocted for him at the request of his father, or the Italian Marcell Jacobs, Olympic champion of the 100 m, who came to run in the North at a time when the sprinter was struggling to find meetings.
🤩 The best of athletics at the 💎 MEETING DE PARIS!
🇰🇪 Faith Kipyegon (5000m), Miltiadis Tentoglou (length), 🇬🇷 🇨🇮 @majotalou (200m) and 🇩🇴 @Marileidy_P (400m) will also be at the Charléty Stadium on Friday! And you?
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— MEETING DE PARIS (@MEETINGPARIS) June 6, 2023
Memories anchored in the memory of these two champions who agreed to come to Paris. "Setting up a plateau is not necessarily a question of budget, everyone knows that the one in Paris is far from being one of the most important," says Jean-Pierre Watelle. I did not want to bet on a single event but try to attract as many top athletes as possible. »
Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, the new star we're snatching up
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 Friday in the 400m. "I absolutely wanted her to be present, blows Jean-Pierre Watelle, stars in her 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 launches her season in the capital, we will find the Dominican Marileidy Paulino, vice Olympic and world champion in the 400m and the 2019 world champion, Salwa Eid Naser.
The women's 200m, with American Olympic bonze medallist Gabrielle Thomas facing Britain's multiple medallist Dina Asher-Smith, will also be worth a visit, as will the 5,000m where Ethiopia's 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 of the 100m has long delayed his return. "I was a little worried, but he's here!" smiles Jean-Pierre Watelle. "This race should have been my third of the season, it will finally be my back-to-school race," said the sprinter. I wanted to make sure all my physical glitches were behind me. This race will be ideal to start my season and achieve the goals I have set for 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 takes on 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 mount him a 2 miles so that he could challenge the world record (held by Kenyan Daniel Komen in 7′58′'61 since 1997)," says the manager of the set. Barring disaster, the world's leading 1,500m specialist will at least bring down the best European mark of all time. Another attempt against a world record, that of Ethiopian Lamecha Girma in the 3000m steeplechase.
Robert, Martinot-Lagarde and Mayer at the forefront
What could be more motivating for French athletes than competing against big names? Crowned in Tokyo, 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, the American Grant Holloway, world champion. Mélina Robert-Michon, back at her best, will also be at the party with the best currently in women's discus throwing. Finally, while French star Kevin Mayer will line up for a triathlon (length, 110m hurdles and shot put), young hopefuls Jules Pommery and Erwan Konaté will participate in the long jump competition with Greek Olympic champion Miltiadis Tedoglou.