MONACO, France, July 14 –Three-time world champion Asbel Kiprop is lined up for the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco which has a reputation for high-class performances.
With the Rio Olympic Games just a month away, the clashes in store at Herculis on Friday (July 15) will have added spice.
For quality, the men’s 1500m takes the biscuit. 2008 Beijing Olympic champion Kiprop, who ran his personal best of 3:26.69 at this meeting last year, has been itching for a pacemaker to set him on a world record tilt all season.
When the Kenyan ran the world lead (3:29.33) in Birmingham, he did it by overtaking the pacers and romping to a near four-second win.
Should they get it right this time, Diamond Race leader Kiprop may not be running on his own.
Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi has showed good pace over 800m this season and will hope it pays off in a fast race in Monaco.
Other in-form athletes hoping to go fast include Kenya’s world silver medallist Elijah Manangoi, who is currently second in the Diamond Race, and Morocco’s Abdalaati Iguider, who won over 3000m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rabat and is third on this year’s 1500m world list with 3:33.10.
The men’s steeplechase features Conseslus Kipruto, who is fastest this year with 8:00.12. He goes after his fifth straight IAAF Diamond League win in 2016, though the meeting record of 7:53.64 might be just out of his grasp.
Elsewhere, Kenyan duo Mercy Cherono and Hellen Obiri lead the women’s 3000m field.
Distance king Mo Farah adds further depth. The Briton will surely follow the pace as he tunes up to defend his 5000m and 10,000m titles in Brazil.
Ingebrigtsen brothers Filip and Henrik, first and third respectively at the European Championships, also run.
Caster Semenya has been unbeatable in the women’s 800m this season, literally with three straight IAAF Diamond League wins and a world-leading 1:56.64 in Rome.
Francine Niyonsaba, the world indoor champion who won in Birmingham (with Semenya absent) in 1:56.92, and world junior champion Margaret Wambui, who is ranked third this year with 1:57.52, are the most likely to push the South African in Monaco. Any of the three could challenge the 1:56.04 meeting record.