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Athletics: Underdog Lavillenie and favorite Thompson in the running

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – Valery HACHE – | The French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie at the meeting of Monaco, July 21, 2017

For the first time since 2009, the world record holder (6.16 m) Renaud Lavillenie approaches the World without the favorite label that the Jamaican Elaine Thompson claims for 100 meters, whose final is scheduled Sunday night in London .

“It takes a little bit of pressure but not that much because it’s not as if I’ve never done anything,” said Lavillenie, four times on the podium at the World Open-Air Championships but not Still on the highest step.

“I have the advantage of having the qualifying (Sunday) which will serve as my training. Overall, I am happy to have minimized the time lost in recent months to have a fairly correct level,” Continued the Clermont.

Lavillenie, a 30-year-old, has had a winter with injuries. As a new dad, he also had to share his precious time with his little girl born three weeks ago.

On a saltire that reminds him of the gold of the Games in 2012, and the Olympic rings tattooed under his right forearm, the Napoleon de la perche will be accompanied by his brother Valentin, Kevin Menaldo and young Axel Chapelle.

The final of the men’s pole is on Tuesday evening (20h30).

– Thompson released –

Double Olympic champion (100/200 m) in Rio, Thompson chose to focus on the 100 m in London.

Wounded at an Achilles’ heel, Thompson (25) left the spikes for training shoes. “I am fit and I found the shoes adapted,” reassured the flying Jamaican when arriving in the British capital earlier this week.

She lifted the last doubts by dominating the second series in the rain in 11 sec 05 (v +0.8 m / s). The young German Gina Luckenkemper signed the scratch, taking advantage of a track still dry in the first series to taste a first time under the 11 seconds (10.95).

Thompson knows his opponents: the American Torie Bowie, the Dutch champion Dafne Schippers, 200m champion of the world and the Ivorian Marie Josée Ta Lou, all at ease in the playoffs.

On the French side, Mahiedine Mekhissi, triple medalist at the Games (2008/2012/2016), also makes his debut Sunday in the 3000m steeplechase series.

– Opponents in stock –

Redescended at the last moment of Font Romeu (Pyrenees-Orientales), the Rémois is a sure value. But over the years, Mekhissi (32) is struggling, besides the physical problems, with a circle of opponents that has expanded beyond the four Kenyans, including three Olympic champions.

Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco, Evan Jager of the United States of America, Conseslus Kipruto’s dolphin at the Rio Games, and now the Ethiopians are the other contenders for the medals.

Dimitri Bascou, a bronze medalist in Rio, and Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, both injured, Garfield Darien took over as the leader of the 110-meter hurdles which often offered satisfactions to France.

The Lyonnais, trained by his father, broke his personal record (13.09) at the end of June in Ostrava. “Came for a medal,” even Jamaican Olympic champion Omar McLeod is not afraid of Darien.

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