In a year, athletics – king sport of the Olympic Games (JO) – will have the right to the majestic enclosure of the Stade de France. Friday June 9, at the Charléty stadium, a fine selection of athletes took part in a rehearsal during the Paris meeting of the 2023 Diamond League.
The 18,000 Parisian spectators – there will be 80,000 next year in Saint-Denis – attended a rich and varied programme, even if they were slightly scolded by a world champion. “We feel that people love athletics, but especially when the Olympics arrive. We should be a little more consistent”noted Kevin Mayer, who won his traditional triathlon, an event tailor-made for him and outside the official program.
The runners put on a show. Kenyan Faith Kipyegon, Ethiopian Lamecha Girma and Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen broke three world records. Double world and Olympic champion in the 1,500 meters, Kipyegon improved the best time in the history of the 5,000 meters: 14 minutes 5 seconds and 20 hundredths. He had been held since October 7, 2020 by the Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey in 14 minutes 6 seconds and 62 hundredths.
Kipyegon, double world record holder
Even crazier scenario, Gidey was present on the Parisian track and saw her own record fall while offering a good resistance to Kipyegon. But nothing seems to resist the Kenyan, just crowned with a new world record over 1,500 meters a week ago in Florence (Italy).
At 29, Kipyegon, who returned to the highest level after the birth of her daughter in 2018, would see herself well on a marathon in a few years. “I deeply love running. I want to show my daughter that you have to give 100% in what you love to do, to put everything in place to get there.she confided to the Monde the day before his Paris race.
At the start of the evening, the Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen achieved what was expected of him: to break the world record for the 2 miles – a discipline which had its heyday across the Channel and which is no longer officially recognized by the IAAF, the international federation -, and for which it had been placed in the best possible conditions with the contribution of two hares and that of the Wavelight technology, which materializes the record by light signals around the track.
The international middle-distance prodigy had already broken another indoor world record for the 1,500m by a few seconds in February 2022, in France in Liévin (Pas-de-Calais). The Olympic champion in Tokyo covered the 2 miles (3,218 meters) in 7 minutes 54 seconds and 10 hundredths. “I knew what I was capable of but it’s different to realize it, it’s surrealdid he declare, I want to finish with ten or more records. I will try to run as fast as I can. »
Ingebrigtsen simply smashed the very symbolic record of Kenyan Daniel Komen (7 minutes 58 seconds and 61 hundredths), also the world record holder for the 3,000 meters (outdoors). Visibly looking for a challenge three months before the world championships, where he could again achieve a double over 1,500 and 5,000 meters, the Norwegian put his Kenyan and Ethiopian opponents in the wind to finish alone in the final straight, under the encouragement of a conquered public.
More unexpectedly, the third world record of the evening came from the Ethiopian Girma Lamecha over 3,000 meters steeplechase (7 minutes 52 seconds and 11 hundredths), in a stadium in fusion. He erases from the shelves the Qatari Shaheen Saif Saaeed, who had run the distance in 7 minutes 53 seconds and 63 hundredths in 2004. Already an Olympic vice-champion in Tokyo, the 22-year-old athlete is one of the rising stars of the Ethiopian athletics. He had already won the indoor record for the 3,000 meters this winter in Liévin.
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Another young star of the world middle distance shone in front of the Parisian public. Briton Keely Hodgkinson, Olympic and world vice-champion in the 800 meters, completed the double lap in 1 minute 55 seconds and 77 hundredths, the twenty-fifth best performance of all time. With her friend Jake Wightman, titled at the 2022 world championships over 1,500 meters, the 21-year-old young woman embodies the British revival of middle-distance racing.
On the French side, the best performance came from the strong point of French athletics, the 110 meter hurdles. If Pascal Martinot-Lagarde was eliminated in the semi-finals, Just Kwaou-Mathey had a superb evening, improving his personal best twice and finishing in second place: 13 seconds 25 in the semi-final and 13 seconds 9 in the final . THE hurdler 23 years thus achieves the third French time in history, behind in particular the French record of Martinot-Lagarde (12 s 95).
Last year at the Worlds in Eugene (Oregon), Kwaou-Mathey had already been the best Frenchman with a time of 13 seconds 25 in the semi-finals, not approved because of the wind and insufficient to enter the final. In Paris, American Grant Holloway won in 12.98 seconds. Frenchman Wilhem Belocian finished fifth in 13.20 seconds.
One-way match over 100 meters
Announced star of the evening, world record holder in the 400 meters hurdles, Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone still has work to do on the 400 meters flat. Starting very strong in the first corner, the American with a slender stride blocked in the final straight, opening the track to the Dominican specialist Marileidy Paulino (49 seconds 12 hundredths), silver medalist at the Tokyo Olympics, who s soared to victory.
Mention all the same encouraging for McLaughlin, who improved her personal best (49 seconds 71 hundredths) over a distance at which she had not rubbed herself for several years, her previous record dating back to 2018.
Another expected moment in the sprint, the men’s 100 meters was disappointing, since the Italian Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs was never in the game, seventh in 10 seconds 21. His announced rival, the American Noah Lyles, has, him, responded by winning in 9 seconds 97 ahead of the Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala (9 seconds 98) and the Batswana Letsile Tebogo (10 seconds 05), junior world record holder in the specialty. A great performance for Lyles, specialist in the 200 meters, double world champion in this distance.
He is aiming for the first time this year a 100-200 meter double at the 2023 Worlds. Sure of his strength in the 200 meters after his canon time achieved in Eugene in 2022 (19 seconds 31), if he manages to cross the trap formidable of the American selections, the 25-year-old Floridian should be one of the candidates for victory on the straight line this summer in Hungary. And one of the stars of the Paris Games in the summer of 2024.