5 Biggest Stories at the 2023 Paris Diamond League – Girma and Jakob go for WRs, Lyles vs Jacobs, SML vs Paulino, Kipyegon vs GideyBy Alex Geula
The Meeting de Paris takes place at the Stade Sébastien Charléty in Paris, France on Friday, June 9. This is the fourth Diamond League meeting of the 2023 season, and the third in a tightly packed window that has four meetings in a span of 19 days.
Below we detail the five biggest story lines from the Paris Diamond League in the order that they will take place.
What: 2023 Meeting de Paris
When: Friday, June 2. Broadcast window 3-5 p.m. ET.
LetsRun.com Reaction Show at 5:10 pm ET
Where: Stade Sébastien Charléty, Paris, France
Men’s 2 Mile (2:42 p.m. ET): Will Jakob Ingebrigtsen break Komen’s 2-Mile World Record?
Daniel Komen‘s historic WR over 2 miles stands at 7:58.61 (converted to a 7:23.14 3,000m) and has stood since 1997. Although not frequently contested, Komen’s world record is very strong, with him being the only person to ever break the eight-minute barrier.
Ingebrigtsen is always in good form, but breaking this record will take an extraordinary effort. Last time out, Jakob won the Rabat Diamond League 1500m in 3:32.59, beating a very strong field. However, Jakob’s focus in Rabat was on the win, not time. Maybe a better indicator of his current fitness is a workout Jakob just completed.
In preparation to take down the 2-mile world record, Jakob completed a 6*800m workout. TV2 News in Norway joined him for his workout and revealed his splits to be 2:00, 2:00, 1:55, 1:55, 1:49.5, 1:49.5. While there was no mention of exact rest between the repetitions, there was mention that there was a longer break before the final two 800m reps. To break it down, Komen’s WR is at an 800m pace of 1:58.95 for a little bit more than four times in a row. Ingebrigtsen ran almost a mile more than the length of the race at an average pace of 1:54.7 for 800m, with his final two repetitions being nine seconds faster than WR pace. The workout indicates Jakob is ready to go.
If Jakob does indeed break the world record, this would be a pretty unfortunate year to be Daniel Komen. Earlier this year, Ethiopian Lamecha Girma broke Komen’s indoor 3,000m record. Therefore, if Jakob succeeds, Komen would lose 2 out of his 3 world records in a span of 114 days.
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Unfortunately, the 2-mile is before the Diamond League TV window starts, but if you have a VPN, you can watch it on the Wanda Diamond League YouTube page. If you need a new IP address, check out the VPN we use at LetsRun.com – Nord VPN.
Women’s 5,000m (3:24 p.m. ET): Possibly The Strongest 5,000m Field Ever Assembled
There are THREE world record holders in this race. First is Faith Kipyegon, the newly minted 1500m WR holder, who is wasting no time in moving up to the 5,000m in Paris and taking on a big challenge in world 5,000 and 10,000m record holder Letesenbet Gidey. This will be Gidey’s first 5,000m since her fifth-place finish at last year’s World Championship. Gidey will be looking to get back on the right track as her last race was the World XC Championships where she was in the lead, but collapsed only a few meters away from the finish line. In between those races, Gidey experimented on the roads, running the Valencia marathon in a time of 2:16:49 for 2nd place.
The third and final world record holder in this race is Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya. While the WR was run almost five years ago now, Chepkoech is looking to return to her previous form as her 5,000m PB was run a while ago as well (2017).
Alicia Monson will open up her 2023 outdoor campaign while representing OAC and the U.S. in this race. Monson had COVID earlier in the year, and is looking to rebound from illness in Paris. Monson was 2nd in the Lausanne Diamond League 3000 last year.
Other contenders include the red-hot 1500m specialist and teen phenom, Diribe Welteji, and 14:12 woman Ejgayehu Taye.
Despite having the world record at 5,000m, Gidey rarely wins a 5,000m and definitely is an underdog to the field in this one.
Women’s 400m (4:02 p.m. ET): SML returns to action in the Diamond League vs World Champ Silver Medallist Paulino
Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone will be running her first Diamond League race since 2019. After setting the WR and becoming World champion in the 400m hurdles last year, SML is looking to take on a new challenge this year in the 400m flat. The sky is the limit for SML in the 400m.
She will be taking on stiff competition in Marileidy Paulino and Salwa Eid Naser. Paulino has been running great this year, setting a new PB and WL of 48.98 at the Los Angeles Grand Prix last month. Paulino won silver at last year’s Worlds and the Tokyo Olympics. Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain, back after her whereabouts drug suspension, sports a very fast PB of 48.14, and will not be an easy opponent for either woman.
Friday’s race in Paris will definitely be a key indicator of whether or not SML has the ability to take over the world in the 400m flat the same way she did in the 400m hurdles.
Men’s 100m (4:12 p.m. ET): Jacobs 100m opener v. Lyles
After a huge battle on social media with Fred Kerley, Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs ended up scratching himself from both the Rabat and Florence Diamond League 100m. Jacobs cited a back injury as the cause of not being fit to race. However, Jacobs seems to be fit enough now and ready to race as he was at the Paris Diamond League pre-race press conference answering questions earlier today. This will be Jacobs’ first race of his outdoor campaign and his road to Budapest. Jacobs has a lot to prove, and has not run a 100m since winning the European championships last year in Munich.
Although Kerley is not in this race, another American World champion, Noah Lyles, is here. Lyles, the American record holder over 200m and 2022 200m World champion, has noted that he wants to win the 100m and 200m gold medal at this years World championships. Winning this race would represent a big step in his 100m ambitions, as this race has a strong field including world leader Ferdinand Omanyala and U20 world champion Letslie Tebogo of Botswana.
Men’s 3,000mSC (4:32 p.m. ET): Girma Attacks Steeplechase WR
Lamecha Girma has had an almost perfect 2023 thus far. Despite only running two races, he set the indoor 3,000m WR in his first race of the season on February 15th in Liévin running 7:23.81. Girma followed up that performance by opening up his outdoor campaign at the Doha Diamond League, winning an outdoor 3000m in a fast time of 7:26.18 and beating some of the best distance runners in the world.
Saif Saaeed Shaheen world record of 7:53.63 has stood since 2004. The 22 year old Ethiopian, Girma, is definitely in great shape, but breaking this record will be a monumental task. One of Girma’s stiffest rivals, Soufiane El Bakkali, raced the 3,000mSC earlier this year in Rabat and ran a time of 7:56.68 with his home Moroccan crowd cheering him on. While Girma is definitely faster on a flat track, El Bakkali is the supreme hurdler. El Bakkali is not in this race and Girma is going to have to push the pace by himself after the pacers step off the track. Hopefully, Commonwealth Games champion Abraham Kibiwot (8:05 PB) and Olympic bronze medalist Benjamin Kigen (8:05 PB) will help Girma push the pace. Breaking two world records in 114 days would be one hell of a feat if Girma could pull this one off.