Asafa and AirLavillenie ready
PARIS (FRA): The stars are out in Paris. And they’re making the most of the venue. Renaud Lavillenie and Asafa Powell, two of the hottest names in world athletics, each kicked off the Meeting Areva 2015 in style on Thursday. Indeed, the French pole vaulter and the Jamaican sprinter jumped… onto a boat, on the River Seine, to head off to the press conference to launch the French stage of the IAAF Diamond League, organised in a room steeped in history within Paris’ HÃ´tel de Ville. Powell also said: “It would have been nice to have run against Bolt it’s a shame. That said it doesn’t make much odds to me. I’m going to run my own race. I’m in good shape. With a view to the Worlds in Beijing, it would be good to run a little faster than my times so far this season.” Renaud Lavillenie, as relaxed as ever two days before the Paris meeting, is once again eagerly waiting to push open the gate to the Stade de France. He reckons he’s pulled off some ‘interesting things’ in training over recent days. He also says that he’s ready to finally jump at least 6 metres . The Frenchman has planned to begin his competition at 570 cm, using a 13.8 or 14.0 pole. Weather forecast says it should be a nice summer evening. “Some very favourable conditions for the sprint, the hurdles and the field events,” explains Laurent Boquillet, the sports director. The French Athletics Federation, owner and organiser of the event, is expecting 45 to 50,000 spectators, including several thousand youngsters invited by the Secours Populaire, a charity organisation giving assistance to the poor. Bernard Amsalem, the President of the FFA, explains: “The evening will also be punctuated by two special highlights: the awarding of the London Olympic bronze medal for the French 4x100m, where they have just ranked 3rd after the American relay team were relegated, and a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the world record mile, set in 1965 by Michel Jazy”.