PARIS: Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell, pole vault king Renaud Lavillenie and Ethiopian middle distance star Genzebe Dibaba are set to light up Paris’ Diamond League meet on Saturday in the absence of injured Usain Bolt.
Bolt was a late withdrawal from both the French capital’s meet and that in Lausanne next week, pulling out with a problematic pelvis injury that has left him seeking treatment from world-renowned German doctor Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt.
So it falls to 32-year-old Powell to fill Bolt’s shoes in Paris.
“My personal best is 9.72 seconds [set in 2008], so at my best I know I can run that. But I want to run another personal best, that’s what I’m focused on, not anything else,” said Powell, who will be up against American duo Michael Rodgers and Ryan Bailey, veteran Kim Collins and teammate Nesta Carter.
There will be an attempt on the world record in the women’s 5,000m, Genzebe Dibaba out to better a time of 14min 11.15sec set by her older sister Tirunesh in Oslo in 2008.
The younger Dibaba is already the holder of world indoor records over 1,500m, 3,000m and 5,000m, but will be up against compatriot Almaz Ayana at the Stade de France, the latter having run a world leading time of 14:14.32 this season.
In field events, world record holder Renaud Lavillenie will bid to keep the home crowd happy in the men’s pole vault, with one eye firmly fixed on the Beijing worlds. “Paris is a very interesting date because it will be the first meet of a second series,” said Lavillenie. “I’ll compete in five straight competitions to find the rhythm and the benchmarks ahead of the championships.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2015.
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