Saturday, 01 July 2017 14:14

Jebet targets at new world record

PARIS, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Bahrain's Ruth Jebet wanted to repeat her feat in the IAAF Diamond League Paris meeting one year ago to improve on current world record.

Jebet set the women's 3,000m steeplechase world record of 8:52.78 at the Stade de France in 2016, bettering the previous record by more than six seconds.

"I'm very happy to be back in Paris where I beat the world record last season. The crowds helped me a lot to achieve it. I do not forget about that. Now, I would like to defend my world record and even improve it," said Jebet, who clinched the gold medal in the Rio Olympic Games last year, said at the press briefing here on Friday.

French crowds may expect a star-studded Paris meeting on Saturday. No fewer than seven Olympic champions, including Jebet, will appear at the Charlety Stadium in the south of Paris.

Local favorite Renaud Lavillenie, the 2012 London Olympics men's pole vault gold medalist, is expected to face tough challenge from American Sam Kendricks, the only athlete to cross over the six-meter bar this season. Kendricks also upset Lavillenie at the Shanghai meeting in May.

"At the beginning of the season, I found it hard to jump (due to injury) in February. It was not easy when I tried to come back. I had great training in April, and I wanted to start the competition in May, that's why I went to Shanghai," explained Lavillenie, men's indoor world record holder at 6.16m.

"During the last days or weeks, the conditions were not too good, with wind and rain, and I could not use the full run away. But I cannot be in a hurry, it's just the end of June. I can keep working in this way, and look forward to the meeting tomorrow," he added.

On the other hand, Kendricks kept low-key about the six-meter achievement he had in the US National Championships in Sacramento just one week ago.

"I say, 'I jumped six meters, so I am the most prepared'. I may eat my words," said the American rising star.

"How many times have you jumped six meters now?" he asked Lavillenie.

"17," responded the Frenchman.

"17 times, right? By my calculation, there are 17 times that he did better than I," commented Kendricks, while adding that he could gain confidence from the result.

"I knew that I could cross the bar approaching the championship very consistently. The important point about my competition in Sacramento was not that I jumped six meters, but that I jumped all the way through, so jumping in a consistent way really matters," he pointed out.

Qatar's high jumper Mutaz Barshim set the season best at 2.38m, and boasted the best five performances this year.

"Obviously, the main goal this season is the world championships in London, but it's not the only goal. This season I want to have a different and specific approach for every single competition," he said.

Elaine Thompson, the women's 100m and 200m winner in Rio, wanted to stay healthy en route to the worlds in August, also revealing her absence from the 200m event in London was her coach's decision.

Omar McLeod, men's 110m hurdles Olympic champion, was the title favorite, while keeping an eye on reigning world champion Sergey Shubenkov, who was given a green light by the world athletics governing body to participate as a neutral.

The seventh Diamond League stop of the year also featured two-time Olympic men's triple jump gold medalist Christian Taylor and Olympic men's javelin champion Thomas Rohler.

China's Gong Lijiao, who took victories in Shanghai and Rome this season, was set to compete in the women's shot put.

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