NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Three-time 1500m world champion Asbel Kiprop leads a jam-packed athletic talent that includes super star Usain Bolt who is the is guest of honour for the 30th birthday of the Herculis meeting in Monaco to run on Friday.
Olympic 1500m champion Matt Centrowitz will have a rigorously testing evening against the two 21-year-olds who are the top Kenyans of the moment – Timothy Cheruiyot, who leads this season’s world list with 3:30.77, and Ronald Kwemoi, second in the world this year with a 3:30.89 at altitude as he beat Cheruiyot to the Kenyan title in Nairobi.
Also lurking in the field with something to prove is Kiprop. This track has witnessed some super-fast 1500m times, and tomorrow night could add to that legacy.
The women’s 3000m brings together Kenya’s Olympic 5000m silver medallist Hellen Obiri and Britain’s European indoor 1500m and 3000m champion Laura Muir, 12 days after their rousing contest over the mile in London which saw Obiri set a national record of 4:16.56 and Muir register a personal best of 4:18.03.
Kenya’s Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto faces a field that includes Olympic silver medallist Evan Jager of the United States and his two leading Kenyan rivals, Jairus Birech and 35-year-old double Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi.
But Kipruto’s biggest challenge may be the ankle problem that caused him to drop out early from the race in Rabat last week.
The men’s javelin could be a similarly telling event to the men’s pole vault, given the presence of the two Germans who have seized the event by its neck in the space of the past year.
Olympic champion Thomas Rohler has been consistently in 90-metre territory this season, having opened with 93.90m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha.
But his place behind Jan Zelezny on the world all-time list was taken by compatriot Johannes Vetter, who produced four 90-metre throws on a single night in Lucerne on 11 July, the best of them being 94.44m.
Also in the field are Kenya’s world champion Julius Yego, and 2012 Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch, who has a best of 88.02m this season.
Olympic and world 800m champion Semenya has been unbeatable at her main distance this season, but the Monaco field includes all those most likely to challenge her, including the Olympic silver and bronze medallists, Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and Margaret Wambui of Kenya.
For most athletes competing at the Stade Louis II, this will be the last opportunity to sharpen up for the IAAF World Championships London 2017 from 4-13 August, and to secure their place in the IAAF Diamond League finals in Zurich on 24 August or Brussels on 1 September.