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Duplantis headlines Paris Diamond League with all eyes on Olympics

<a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/sweden-women/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Sweden;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Sweden</a>'s Armand 'Mondo' Duplantis (Andreas SOLARO)
Sweden's Armand 'Mondo' Duplantis (Andreas SOLARO)

Pole vault star Armand 'Mondo' Duplantis headlines a host of global track and field stars who will get a taste of elite competition in Paris at Sunday's Diamond League, just three weeks out from the Olympic Games in the French capital.

The Olympic athletics programme starts on August 1 at the Stade de France, once used for Diamond League meets during the Usain Bolt era.

The Diamond League is now held at the Stade Charlety in the south of the city, with a near sell-out crowd of 20,000 expected on Sunday.

Duplantis is one of five Olympic champions, six world champions and 12 reigning European champions set to test their mettle in Paris.

"I've been jumping for a very long time. I've got good at it and figured out how to jump high," said Duplantis, who this season alone has already won a second world indoor title and a third European gold, as well as bettering his own world record to 6.24 metres.

Those triumphs have all added to the US-born Swede's vast medal haul including Olympic gold from Tokyo and two world outdoor titles.

Pressure to perform, however, was not something that overly bothered Duplantis, with Sunday's competition his last before the July 26-August 11 Olympics.

"It's something you get used to, in a way. I focus on myself and try to get the best out of me."

Turning to Sunday's meet, he added: "I definitely want to make sure that everything's where I want it to be, to try to gather as much information as I possibly can because I want everything to be as perfect as it can be.

"I hope to jump high tomorrow and show myself I'm in world record shape going into the Olympics.

"I want to make sure that everything's where it should be. I'm going to give it 110 per cent like I always do.

"We do have a really great field. It's basically the Olympic final."

Duplantis said he had been working on his speed on the runway.

"It feels like the more speed I can control on the runway and consistently bring, then I can get on stiffer poles," he said.

"The stiffer the poles the more energy I'm bringing to the take-off, then it's like a catapult, the more it can just fling me up there in the air."

Kenya's Faith Kipyegon, a double Olympic champion and four-time world gold medallist, will also be competing, a year after shattering the world 5,000m record at the same stadium.

Kipyegon, however, will be racing the 1500m, an event in which she also holds the world record and will use to hone her speed in the run-in to the Olympics.

Other Olympic champions in the French capital are German long jumper Malaika Mihambo and Polish hammer thrower Wojciech Nowicki, who both won European titles in Rome in June, and American discus thrower Valarie Allman.

Nine other newly-crowned European champions are set to hit the track in Paris with an eye on the Olympics.

French athletes Alice Finot (steeplechase) and Gabriel Tual (800m), Ukrainian Yaroslava Mahuchikh (high jump), Switzerland's Timothe Mumenthaler (200m), Poland's Natalia Kaczmarek (400m), Ireland's Ciara Mageean (1500m), Croatia's Sandra Elkasevic (discus), Italy's Lorenzo Ndele Simonelli (110m hurdles) and Czech Jakub Vadlejch (javelin) will all be present.

Tual will face Kenya's world 800m silver medallist Emmanuel Wanyonyi, who clocked a world leading and personal best time of 1:41:70 at the Kenyan trials last month.

"I feel pressure going into the Paris Olympics," Wanyonyi said. "I need to prepare well. Tomorrow I will just try to run my best."

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