Renaud Lavillenie wins again at the Paris Diamond League (© Jean-Pierre Durand)
On Saturday 1 July 2017, in the late afternoon, the cream of French and global athletics will push open the gates to the Stade Charléty. The legendary arena will serve as a showcase and a setting for the Meeting de Paris, the seventh leg of the 2017 IAAF Diamond League.
After years at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, the Parisian meeting is making a major comeback at the very heart of the capital, having already reinvested in the AccorHotels Arena in Bercy back in February for its indoor version.
To celebrate this fact, the Meeting de Paris is returning to a more traditional schedule with its 1 July date, one that favours great performances since the event falls during a period when athletes are increasing in power. In this way, just one month before the IAAF World Championships London 2017, French and overseas elite will get a chance to show just what they’re made of in a stadium and on a track where athletes have already written a series of memorable pages in sporting history.
Going back to its roots somehow, the event nonetheless boasts a veneer of new features. Indeed, enjoying a retro atmosphere and a vintage touch, it is also a unique and promising journey of discovery for the IAAF Diamond League.
Stadium's strong athletics connection and tradition
In Charléty, athletics feels quite at home in what is a structure designed and built especially for the sport. Its stands accommodate some 20,000 fans and with them comes the assurance of a public audience that is close to the action, combined with a certainty among the athletes that they will be able to share their sporting journey with their fans.
On the track lie the memories of what is a truly unforgettable past. More senior members of society will recall watching Roger Bambuck outclassing Ronnie Ray Smith here in the 100m in July 1968, on a cinder track. In 1994, the inauguration of the new Stade Charléty and its brand new synthetic track was marked by its hosting the final of the IAAF Grand Prix.
Five years later, France would go on to welcome the European Cup of Nations. In 2005, the FFA trialled the DécaNation, an invention organised in Charléty through 2010, before moving out to the provinces. In 2013, it was Jimmy Vicaut’s turn to demonstrate the quality of the track through his first sub-10-second time 100m (9.95) during the French Championships here.
French Olympic medallists Lavillenie, Lemaitre, Mayer and Biscou confirmed
On the track, on Saturday 1 July, the Meeting de Paris will be offering the very best there is in athletics. A custom. This will be complemented by another key theme of the Parisian leg of the IAAF Diamond League: the presence of the French Team’s headline acts.
Renaud Lavillenie, Christophe Lemaitre, Kevin Mayer, Dimitri Bascou, all medallists at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, have confirmed their participation. There has also been the same positive response from Floria Gueï, the current French No.1 in the 400m.
Five weeks prior to the year’s main global event, the IAAF World Championships London 2017 (4-13 August 2017), they fully intend to make the most of the facilities and atmosphere to show the audience what they can do.
Organisers for the IAAF
2017 IAAF Diamond League calendar
5 May – Doha, QAT
13 May – Shanghai, CHN
27 May – Eugene, USA
8 Jun – Rome, ITA
15 Jun – Oslo, NOR
18 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
1 Jul – Paris, FRA
6 Jul – Lausanne, SUI
9 Jul – London, GBR
16 Jul – Rabat, MAR
21 Jul – Monaco, MON
20 Aug – Birmingham, GBR
24 Aug – Zurich, SUI
1 Sep – Brussels, BEL