Previews04 Jul 2024

Kipyegon and Duplantis return to Paris


Faith Kipyegon wins the 5000m at the Diamond League meeting in Paris (© Getty Images)

World record-holders Faith Kipyegon and Mondo Duplantis are among the star athletes who’ll be in action at the Meeting de Paris on Sunday (7), the first Wanda Diamond League meeting since the Olympic qualifying window closed.

The significance of the timing and location of the meeting will not be lost on the athletes competing at the Stade Charlety on Sunday. Many of them will return to the French capital in less than a month for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games; for the no.1 sport on the world’s biggest stage, there is no better dress rehearsal.

Suitably, the fields are loaded with talent.

When Kipyegon last competed on this track, she made history by breaking the world 5000m record. She went on to win the 1500m and 5000m double at the World Championships in Budapest, then wrapped up her 2023 campaign by racing at the World Road Running Championships in Riga on 1 October.

The 30-year-old Kenyan didn’t race again until just a few weeks ago, but she showed no signs of rust at the Kenyan Olympic Trials as she won the 5000m (14:46.28) and 1500m (3:53.98) on back-to-back days, recording the fastest ever times at altitude for the two distances.

One year on from her record-breaking feats in Paris, Kipyegon will switch back to her main discipline, the 1500m, on Sunday and will take on a field that includes world indoor champion Freweyni Hailu, European champion Ciara Mageean, Olympic silver medallist Laura Muir and Oceanian record-holder Jess Hull.

The men’s pole vault features arguably one of the highest-quality fields of the competition. Not only does it feature Duplantis, the world indoor and outdoor champion who earlier this year increased his world record to 6.24m; it includes every medallist from the past four editions of the World Championships, and contains seven members of the elusive six-metre club.

Mondo Duplantis competes at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Paris

Mondo Duplantis competes at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Paris (© AFP / Getty Images)

Duplantis, who has won all of his competitions this outdoor season with vaults of 6.00m or higher, set the meeting record of 6.01m when he last competed here in 2021. He’ll be keen to improve on that as he builds towards the defence of his Olympic title while also trying to hold off the challenge of world silver medallist Ernest John Obiena, European silver medallist Emmanouil Karalis, two-time world champion Sam Kendricks, North American record-holder KC Lightfoot, Olympic silver medallist Chris Nilsen, world bronze medallist Kurtis Marschall, former world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie and French champion Thibaut Collet.

Wanyonyi looks to extend winning streak

Like his Kenyan compatriot Kipyegon, Emmanuel Wanyonyi has fond memories of Paris, having won the 800m last year in a then PB of 1:43.27.

The teenager went on to take world silver in Budapest, and since then he has been undefeated, notching up wins in Xiamen, Eugene, Nairobi and Marrakech. In his most recent outing, he won at the Kenyan Olympic Trials in 1:41.70, elevating him to third on the world all-time list.

Two-time Commonwealth champion Wyclife Kinyamal, who finished second at the Kenyan Trials in a PB of 1:42.50, will also be in Paris, as will newly crowned European champion Gabriel Tual, 2022 world silver medallist Djamel Sedjati and world indoor silver medallist Andreas Kramer.

One year on from a world record-breaking performance in the discipline, Stade Charlety will play host to two steeplechase races on Sunday.

In the women’s event, world champion Winfred Yavi takes on world record-holder Beatrice Chepkoech. Yavi has contested just one steeplechase race this year, clocking 9:21.62 in Eugene in May, but since then she has reduced her 5000m PB to 14:41.99. Chepkoech has also displayed good form, clocking 8:55.40 in Xiamen and setting a 1500m PB of 3:59.73.

Commonwealth champion Jackline Chepkoech, European champion Alice Finot and USA’s Gabrielle Jennings are also in the field.

The men’s race features world bronze medallist Abraham Kibiwot, African Games silver medallist Amos Serem, Japanese record-holder Ryuji Miura, world indoor 1500m champion Geordie Beamish, and in-form Tunisian Mohamed Amine Jihnaoui.

Global champions clash on the field

Numerous winners of world and Olympic medals will feature in the field events in Paris.

In the women’s high jump, world champion Yaroslava Mahuchikh takes on world indoor champion Nicola Olyslagers, 2022 world champion Eleanor Patterson, European silver medallist Angelina Topic and Olympic heptathlon champion Nafi Thiam.

Yaroslava Mahuchikh competes at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Brussels

Yaroslava Mahuchikh in Diamond League action (© Dan Vernon for Diamond League AG)

Olympic champion Malaika Mihambo clashes with world champion Ivana Spanovic in the women’s long jump, while Olympic champion Valarie Allman lines up alongside multiple global champion Sandra Elkasevic in the women’s discus.

In the men’s javelin, the winners of the past two European titles – Jakub Vadlejch and Julian Weber – take on two-time world champion Anderson Peters and world silver medallist Arshad Nadeem.

Paulino and Dos Santos feature in one-lap showdowns

World 400m champion Marileidy Paulino will aim to continue her winning streak in Paris, but may need to improve on her season’s best of 49.30 if she is to beat world silver medallist Natalia Kaczmarek, who won the European title last month in a Polish record of 48.98. USA’s Alexis Holmes and world indoor silver medallist Lieke Klaver, both sub-50-second performers, are also in the line-up.

Like Paulino, 2022 world 400m hurdles champion Alison dos Santos is undefeated this year in his specialist event. The Brazilian, who has a best this year of 46.63, will have one eye on the meeting record of 46.98 as he takes on Jamaican champion Malik James-King and Sweden’s Carl Bengstrom, both of whom have broken 48 seconds this year.

A competitive men’s 110m hurdles field includes European champion Lorenzo Simonelli, French champion Sasha Zhoya, USA’s Cordell Tinch, Japanese record-holder Rachid Muratake, Spain’s Enrique Llopis, and 2022 world silver medallist Trey Cunningham.

Elsewhere in the sprints, world indoor medallists Ewa Swoboda and Zaynab Dosso take on 2022 world indoor champion Mujinga Kambundji, Gemima Joseph and Gina Bass Bittaye in the women’s 100m. The men’s 200m, meanwhile, features NCAA champion Cheickna Traore, Tarsis Orogot and France’s Pablo Mateo. 

Non-scoring – but highly competitive – men’s and women’s hammer contests will be held as a joint competition. The men’s line-up includes five-time world champion Pawel Fajdek, Olympic champion Wojciech Nowicki, European silver medallist Bence Halasz and Ukraine’s Mykhaylo Kokhan.

The women’s line-up features 2022 world champion Brooke Andersen, world silver medallist Janee Kassanavoid and European bronze medallist Rose Loga.

And last – but definitely not least, certainly in the eyes of the home fans – decathlon world record-holder Kevin Mayer will compete in a combined events ‘triathlon’ alongside Finley Gaio and Jente Hauttekeete, among others.

Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics