Nafi Thiam: ‘This is the perfect meeting at the perfect time’

The Province Naimette Arena in Liège was officially inaugurated on Wednesday. This renovated athletics stadium will host the 20th edition of the Meeting International d'Athlétisme de la Province de Liège on Wednesday 29 June. Olympic Heptathlon Champion Nafi Thiam will take part in the 100-metre hurdles and the high jump. Anne Zagré, Rani Rosius, Eliott Crestan and Thomas Carmoy will also be present in Liège, as will paralympian Roger Habsch.

It will be Thiam’s seventh appearance at the Meeting International d’Athlétisme de la Province de Liège. “It’s always nice to be able to participate in a competition in my own city, in front of my own audience,” says Thiam. “I always enjoy coming here and am happy that there is a brand new track around the corner from me. This year, the meeting fits perfectly in my preparations for the World Championships.” The World Championships will be held in Eugene in te USA from 15 to 24 July.

With the high jump and the 100-metre hurdles, Thiam will combine two events for the first time at the Meeting Liège. The high jump is Thiam’s strongest event in the heptathlon with a personal record of 2m02, in the 100-metre hurdles her PR is 13.34. “It’s no coincidence that these are the two events that I still need to polish up before the World Championships,” explains Thiam. “In the high jump, for example, I want to continue finetuning my run up next week,” says the 27-year-old double Olympic Champion.

In Liège, Thiam will compete with Belgium’s best hurdler, Anne Zagré, in the 100-metre hurdles. The Brussels athlete’s preparations for the World Championships are also in full swing. Another Belgian World Cup contender, 800m runner Eliott Crestan, will run the 600m next week in the Province Naimette Arena. The spectators in Liège will also be able to cheer on high jumper Thomas Carmoy and sprint star Rani Rosius (100 metres). At the Belgian Championships in Gentbrugge next weekend, this duo will get the ultimate opportunity to qualify for the World Championships.

Olympic Champion and Paralympic medallist

There are several international stars to look out for in Liège on 29 June, including South African Olympic Champion Caster Semenya (5000 metres), Jamaican Indoor World Champion in the 4×400 metres Tiffany James (400 metres) and Australian Peter Bol (600 metres), who narrowly missed out on a medal getting fourth place in the 800 metres at the Tokyo Olympics.

Roger Habsch did take a medal in Tokyo last year. The wheelchair athlete from Liège won Bronze in the 100 and 200 metres for wheelers (T51) at the Paralympics and wants to win the 100 metres in front of a home crowd in the Province Naimette Arena next week. The 100 metres for wheelers is the second event of the main programme, which starts at 8pm and ends around 10pm. The preliminary programme of the Meeting International d’Athlétisme de la Province de Liège starts at 5pm with various youth competitions.

Renewed sports temple inaugurated

All athletes will be able to give the best of themselves under perfect conditions next week. The old Stade de Naimette-Xhovémont has been completely renovated with the support of the Province of Liège and renamed the Province Naimette Arena. Katty Firquet, Provincial Deputy (Sport), officially inaugurated the renovated sports temple on Wednesday.

Tickets can be downloaded for free from the website until Tuesday 28 June or can be purchased at 10 euros each at the main entrance of the Province Naimette Arena on Wednesday 29 June from 4 pm.

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