18:03 hrs: Hammer (non-Diamond League)
Making their debut at the Charléty Stadium, the hammer throwers are joining the fray. Deprived of the Diamond League for too many years, they’ll be tasked with getting the meeting off to the perfect start. Having organised a stellar line-up, the Parisian competition is sure to be extremely hotly contested and truly spectacular, with seven men and five women in the cage. Olympic champion Wojciech Nowicki will be competing alongside Polish compatriot Pawel Fajdek, four-time world champion. The French will have equally high hopes since Quentin Bigot has just linked together two competitions with throws in excess of 80 m and Yann Chaussinand improved on his personal best last week with a throw of 77.34 m. Alexandra Tavernier will also be keen to bring her A game in front of a home crowd. Youngsters Rose Loga and Jean-Baptiste Bruxelle, who have every chance of qualifying for the European championships in Munich, will also have a golden opportunity to shine.
18:30 hrs: Men’s triathlon (non-Diamond League)
Kevin Mayer is back in Paris! The double Olympic silver medallist in the decathlon is ready to get the stadium’s spectators up on their feet in all three events he’s set to compete in on the night: 100 m, long jump and shot put. Mayer’s playmates will be Maicel Uibo, second in the decathlon at the World Championships in Doha, as well as a proud representative of the Estonian school of combined events, together with Belgian Benjamin Hougardy, who shares the training routine of the world record holder in Montpellier. Young French athletes Téo Bastien, Arthur Prévost and Makenson Gletty will also make the most of the festival atmosphere to try to beat their personal bests.
19:19 hrs: men’s 100 m (non-Diamond League)
The men’s 100 m straight will be tricoloured on Saturday at the Charléty Stadium. Indeed, France’s top sprinters will be raring to go, headed by Jimmy Vicaut. The French record holder (9’’86) will be attempting to go faster than he did in Montreuil (10’’10) and make the qualifying time for the Worlds (10’’03). He’ll be able to count on some strong competition to spur him on, including Mouhamadou Fall and Amaury Golitin, who posted a very solid 10’’08 last week in Geneva. Also worth noting is the presence of zingy French athlete Jeff Erius, Iranian Hassan Taftian and South African Henricho Bruintjies (record in 9’’97).
19:30 hrs: Women’s high jump
Boasting four women who have already cleared 2 m in their career, the high jump competition will be stunning. The world indoor champion Yaroslava Mahuchikh will be the firm favourite, armed with her record of 2.04 m and her two recent victories in Eugene and Rabat. At 20, the Ukrainian has already secured an Olympic and World Championship medal, in addition to her victory in Belgrade over the winter. Her compatriots Yuliya Levchenko, Iryna Gerashchenko and Kateryna Tabashnyk will be among her fiercest rivals, along with Italian Elina Vallortigara. However, the most serious threat will likely come from Australian Nicola Olyslagers (née McDermott), victorious in Paris last year and second at the Tokyo Games. The competition might also benefit the two French jumpers, Solène Gicquel and Laureen Maxwell, potentially prompting them to have a crack at jumps in excess of 1.90 m. Belgian Nafissatou Thiam, one of the world’s top heptathlon specialists, is also signed up for the high jump in Paris, with several jumps of 2 m and more to her credit.
20:09 hrs: Men’s pole vault
The traditional high point of the Meeting de Paris, the pole vault competition will be a rendez-vous among regulars with Renaud Lavillenie having racked up seven victories at the Meeting de Paris from 2009 to 2014, then again in 2016, and the brazilian Thiago Braz, Olympic champion in Rio 2016, who has spent a few time doing battle across France over the past few years. Both have their sights on a jump of over 5.90 m, a height which Valentin Lavillenie and Thibaut Collet will also be hoping to clear. Meantime, young French pole-vaulters Anthony Ammirati and Baptiste Thiery would be delighted to leave the jumping area with a new personal best and a healthy dose of experience.
20:15 hrs: Women’s discus
Legend Sandra Perkovic has already racked up four victories at the Meeting de Paris. However, the double Olympic and World Champion is no longer the favourite in the discipline after utterly dominating the competition for two Olympiads. The advent of American Valarie Allman, champion in Tokyo last summer, has shifted the dynamic and altered the global landscape, raising the American record to 71.46 m in her first competition of the summer in San Diego in early April. Her Diamond League ranking stands at three consecutive victories (Zurich, Birmingham and Eugene), and she fully intends to add another to her prize haul this Saturday in Paris, in a stadium where she finished third last year. Two French throwers will enter the cage with them: the indestructible Mélina Robert-Michon, and youngster Amanda Ngandu-Ntumba. The deal is a simple one for both parties: a throw in excess of 63.50 m will bring them one step closer to the Worlds in Eugene. A throw of 60.50 m for ‘MRM’ would secure her a place at the European championships in Munich, a standard at which she has already excelled.
21:04 hrs: Women’s 400 m
Watch out, one of the big stars of the global circuit is about to take Paris by storm. The double Olympic champion from the Bahamas, Shaunae Miller-Uibo, is set to unleash her impressive stride on the bends of the track in the Charléty Stadium. In a race that went right to the wire and culminated in gold in Rio thanks to a final dive that went viral, she is billed as favourite in an event where solely the Polish runner Justyna Święty-Ersetic might create an upset. For the two French sprinters, it will be an opportunity to rack up experience at the highest level and try to outdo their respective records: Olympic semi-finalist Amandine Brossier and French 400 m hurdle champion Shana Grebo are expected to take the start.
21:15 hrs: men’s 200 m
Canadian superstar André De Grasse, reigning Olympic champion, will likely set the half lap of the track ablaze on Saturday in his Parisian debut. Representing France, Amaury Golitin is in great shape having just improved on his personal best over the distance (20’’25 on 11 June in Geneva), and compatriot Mouhamadou Fall will attempt to match his stride around the bend. Starting as a rank outsider, Alexander Ogando from the Dominican Republic seems very much at ease in this early summer after running a time of 20’’07 on 30 April.
21:18 hrs: Men’s triple jump
Three of the seven men who have already cleared the legendary 18.00 m in the triple jump will be in Paris on Saturday. American Christian Taylor, the second-best performer of all time (18.21 m), who is recovering well after a serious injury, Portuguese athlete Pedro Pichardo (18.08 m), the reigning Olympic champion, and Hugues-Fabrice Zango from Burkina-Faso, who jumped 18.07 m indoors in Aubière in 2021. The Cuban school will also be well represented on Saturday with two fresh talents, Andy Diaz and Jordan Alejandro Diaz Fortun, the latter now competing under the Spanish flag. Finally, France’s three best international triple jumpers, Benjamin Compaoré (17.06 m on 15 May 2022), Melvin Raffin and Jean-Marc Pontvianne, will be keen to perform well.
21:25 hrs: Women’s 3,000 m steeplechase
One of the night’s most spectacular events, the bid for the crown in the women’s 3,000 m steeplechase could be anyone’s game this Saturday. The best placed of those in the face-off is Bahraini Winfred Yavi, who bagged a record of 8’58’’71, earning her a second place in Eugene three weeks ago. She’ll be pitted against Ethiopians Mekides Abebe, Sembo Alemayehu and Zerfe Wondemagegn, and even Kenyans Virginia Nyambura and Rosefline Chepngetich could make life hard for her. French runner Alice Finot, who has just won the French record in her comeback race in a time of 9’21’’41, will be hanging onto her for as long as possible to try to shave even more time off her record. For Norman Flavie Renouard, a sub-9’27’’00 time would doubtless make it worthwhile to have a crack at the World Championships in Oregon in mid-July.
21:42 hrs: Women’s javelin
About to turn 41, world record holder Barbora Spotakova always enjoys showing the youngsters that she’s still got it. However, to treat herself to the win, the Czech will have to outdo Australian Kelsey-Lee Barber, third at the last Olympic Games and reigning World champion. The other Czech, Nikola Ogrodnikova, Turk Eda Tugsuz and Greek Elina Tzengko, the second-best performer of the summer to date, certainly have potential too. The local of the leg will be Alizée Minard, exiled in the United States, with a current personal best of 57.91 m. In the heat of Charléty, surely the latter record must tumble.
21:44 hrs: Men’s 110 m hurdles
Devon Allen takes on France. Whilst the majority of Americans have chosen to remain in the United States in the run-up to their national championships, the hurdler from Arizona is linking together meetings in Oslo and Paris, just days after posting the remarkable time of 12’’84 in New York. Now the world’s third fastest 110 m hurdler of all time, with a second career in American football up and running, he will challenge France’s elite in a discipline that has often favoured the Frenchies. Just Kwaou-Mathey has already made the World Championship qualifying time, unlike Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, making his comeback on Paris’ star-spangled track. Not forgetting the world U20 champion Sasha Zhoya, there will be no fewer than three Blues with their sights on glory with less than a week until the French Elite championships, which will be crucial in allocating tickets for the summer’s events. Unfortunately, Wilhem Belocian had to withdraw due to a slight muscular alert in Oslo on Thursday night, and Aurel Manga will also be absent.
21:54 hrs: Men’s 800 m
Three French athletes and a posse of solid runners from right around the globe will bring the 800 m to life. Gabriel Tual and Benjamin Robert already have their tickets for Eugene, and fully intend to get in amongst it in the race for the top spots at the end of the double lap of the track. Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, World champion in 2017, is looking to get his bearings and will be using this race to size up his adversaries. Given that there is no shortage of talent in the neighbouring lanes, the event will be well worth watching. Pole Patryk Dobek, World indoor champion, Bosnian Amel Tuka, Dutch athlete Tony Van Diepen and Nijel Amos from Botswana are expected to jockey for position at the front of the pack, where they’ll have to work their way up to victory.
22:05 hrs: Men’s 400 m
Steven Gardiner will be one of the main attractions at Saturday’s meeting. The reigning Olympic champion of the lap of the track will be on the start line for his Diamond League comeback. The Bahamian will be the outright favourite, whilst the other runners will have their work cut out trying not to let him go off on a flyer: the 2018 European champion of the sport Matthew Hudson-Smith will be in hot pursuit, with the European record in his sights. French fans will be focused on Loïc Prévot, who has kicked off the season with two new personal bests and, for his first Diamond League performance, he may well benefit from the gala race.
22:18 hrs: Women’s 100 m hurdles
Since her sublime victory at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade in mid-March, Cyrena Samba-Mayela hasn’t exactly been keeping a low profile. Three races, two interclub laps, interspersed with a Diamond League race in Doha devoured in 12’’72 in excessive breeze (+3.8), sparked the curiosity of one and all in the domain, who will be eager to see what the hurdler from Lilles can do in the 100 m hurdles after her awesome 60 m hurdle achievement back in the winter. The design student will be hooking back up with her best rival in metropolitan France in the person of Laeticia Bapté. The athlete from Martinique has just posted a record of 12’’80 in Geneva and has no intention of stopping there. Dutch athlete Nadine Visser, double European Indoor champion, Nigerian Tobi Amusan, double African champion and Briton Cindy Sember should make things tough for them, but the French hurdlers will naturally have the advantage of a home crowd cheering them on.
22:29 hrs: Men’s 5,000 m
For Jimmy Gressier and Hugo Hay, running twelve and a half laps of the track in the Parisian furnace might be considered to be somewhat foolish. However, for France’s top two 5,000 m competitors, it’s too good an opportunity to miss if they are to make the qualifying time for the Worlds in Eugene (13’09’’00), whilst reaping the rewards of competing in a gold-standard race featuring the foremost runners from Africa’s high plateaus. Indeed, five of them have already broken the 13’ barrier. Topping the bill is Selemon Barega, Olympic 10,000 m champion in Tokyo and World Indoor 3,000 m champion over the winter. However, his Ethiopian compatriot Muktar Edris has won the last two World Championships over the distance. We’ll also need to count on Belgian Isaac Kimeli and Italian Yemaneberhan Crippa, old acquaintances who the French athletes are used to doing battle with in the winter’s cross-country circuits. Mirroring these results on Saturday would certainly be a good idea.
22:53 hrs: Women’s 100 m
To round off the event with panache on Saturday evening, the women’s 100 m looks set to be an absolute showstopper. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, multiple Olympic and World champion, is set to light up the night at Charléty. The Jamaican, who has not been running for over a month, will be the race favourite thanks to her vast experience: Trinidadian Michelle-Lee Ahye, a familiar face at major international finals and Marie-Josée Ta Lou from the Ivory Coast, World number two in the 100 m and the 200 m in 2017, will also be on the start line. Equally, we’ll need to keep a close eye on Swiss runner, Ajla Del Ponte, European Indoor champion over 60 m and last year’s Olympic finalist.