NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 15 – As the lights went off in the Stade Louis 11 in the season opening Monaco Diamond League, every lover of the track and field events must have taken a sigh of relief.
In the race held in bizarre conditions as it was taking place under the COVID-19 protocols, the Monaco Diamond League was the first action of international athletics after several were postponed over the pandemic. Capital Sport takes a look how the event that witnessed a scintillating piece of action from athletes unfolded.
–Fans allowed in Stadium —
With most major sports events being played under closed doors, organisers of the Monaco Diamond League allowed only 5,000 fans led by the World Athletics President Sebastian Coe coupled with journalists in the 16,000-capacity
With most athletics enthusiasts at home, the organisers made sure fans all over the world enjoyed every action through their investment into broadcast.
A total of 28 media houses were cleared to broadcast the event depending with their geographical reach, not forgetting the Wanda Diamond League Facebook and Youtube channels which also benefitted viewers in the geographically authorized countries.
-COVID 19 safety measures –
As required by governments and sports governing bodies all the 128 athletes who took part in the 14 track and field events as well as the officials had to undergo COVID-19 tests prior the event.
The 5,000 fans allowed into the stadium were also required to have a mask on and keep social distance.
Unlike usual times, all athletes who took part in the field events specifically, the high jump, triple jump and pole vault were advised to keep their one-meter social distance. In order to achieve this especially for the triple and pole vault jumpers, the organizers placed mats that marked the athlete’s station at one-meter distance apart in a designated part of the field.
-East African dominance-
With a number of elite athletes staying out of action for almost six months, many would expect a dull event that would record slow times, but you are wrong! the athletes, especially those from the East Africa region stole the show with the World Records, World Leads and Meet Records set.
All Kenyans that competed in the races expect the men’s 800m and men’s 5000m carried the day.
Kenya boosted of wins in the women’s 5000m race through Hellen Obiri, the Women’s 1000m race through 1500m maestro Faith Kipyegon and a narrow win from Timothy Cheruiyot in 1500m, in which he served his share of revenge to archrival Jacob Ingebrightsen of Norway, following his win in the “Impossible Games” earlier in June. World Under-18 Champion Leonard Bett also boasted of a second place in the steeplechase race.
Obiri’s time of 14:22.12 in the 5000m served as the Meet record while Kipyegon’s time of 2:29.15 over the women’s 1000m saw her effortlessly register an Area Record (AR), a World Leading time (WL) and a Diamond League Record (DLR) all in one win to be ranked the second best in the history of the less popular race.
But it was Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei who wrote headlines after he delivered his promise of breaking the 5000m World Record set by Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele 16 years ago. In order to register a time of 12:35.36, Cheptegei who is also the World Champion over the 10,000m distance, recorded a time of 59.64 seconds in the last lap which also doubled as the best time in all the 12 and a half laps he ran.
-Ending the night in style-
And as the action neared the end with the 3000m steeplechase serving as the last race of the event, the lights in the stadium briefly went out and only focusing on the athletes on track upon return.
This according to the commentators of the day served as a sign to the audience that the long-awaited night was coming to a close.
And after all action was done Monaco lived up to its expectations delivering one World Record, three Area records, 11 World Leading times, two Diamond League Records and nine National Records.
The Diamond League action will now head to Stockholm, Sweden August 23.