The lucrative IAAF Golden League meet will showcase Australia’s girl power with 1500m runners Sarah Jamieson and Lisa Corrigan along with pole vaulter Kym Howe also in action.
Rawlinson returns to the Stade de France, the scene of her dramatic 2003 world championship win, to face five of the ten fastest 400m hurdlers in the world this year including United States national champion Tiffany Ross-Williams, 2006 European Cup champion Yevgeniya Isakova and Russia’s Natalya Ivanova.
However two of Rawlinson’s arch rivals will not be competing - world record holder and reigning world champion Yuliya Nosova has withdrawn and Olympic champion Fania Halkia of Greece will also not take to the blocks after injuring her back in the warm up on Monday night in Athens.
After clocking 54.25 (the fifth fastest time in the world) on Monday night, Rawlinson will be looking to go even faster tonight after pausing on the final hurdle in Athens which cost her half a second.
The women’s 1500m features eight athletes who have gone under the magical four-minute barrier. The world-class start list includes Russian Yelena Soboleva who claimed victory in Athens on Monday night and sits on top of the 2007 season’s best table with 3:57.30, Bahrain’s Maryam Yusuf Jamal who won in Oslo, reigning world champion Tatyana Tomashova from Russia and world number one Yulia Chizhenko-Fomenko, also of Russia.
Sarah Jamieson opened her European season in Oslo two weeks ago, finishing fifth in a high quality 1500m in 4:04.60, her fastest in 2007. The 32-year-old will be looking for any opportunity to stamp her authority against the world’s best ahead of the world championships in Osaka.
2007 national 1500m champion Lisa Corrigan, who had the better of Jamieson during the Australian domestic season, was extremely unlucky in her first major international meet in Athens on Monday night. The 22-year-old was tripped by Canadian Carmen Douma-Hussar with only 500 metres to go and did not finish the race; hence she will be looking for a result on Friday night.
Commonwealth Games pole vault champion Kym Howe soared to her best-ever height outdoors with an impressive leap of 4.65 metres at the Rheinland-Pfalz Championships in Saulheim, Germany on the weekend - her second-best performance ever behind her 4.72m indoors in Donetsk.
The 27-year-old will meet world record holder and reigning world and Olympic champion Yelena Isinbayeva on the runway. The exceptional Russian has claimed victory the last 11 times she has stepped out on the runway.
Russia’s Tatyana Polnova and the Czech Republic’s Katerina Badurova will also be in the mix.
Sally McLellan will also be in action, racing over 100m and 200m.
athletics.com.au will produce a wrap of all the action from Paris on Saturday morning. A live radio broadcast, results and further information can also be found at www.iaaf.org
photos Janos Schmidt