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Monaco Magic - Diamond League Recap

The return to global racing made good on promises of some of the most interesting match-ups in the sport.

Men’s 1500m

The field featured World and Olympic Champion Asbel Kiprop as well as double Olympic 5,000/10,000m champion Mo Farah, who in the past has run a 3:28 at this race. This race could’ve been billed as an Olympic preview as the young Kenyan phenom Ronald Kwemoi, Olympic bronze medalist Iguider and reigning Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi entered in the race. At the gun, the race set off at world record tempo with only Kiprop sticking to the pacemakers. A 54 second lap gave him nearly 2 seconds on the field. The gap was maintained through 800m as Kiprop dipped just under 1:50 at the half-way mark.

At this point, it appeared to be a question of just how fast Kiprop would go but a slow penultimate lap squashed any dreams of a fast time. Instead, Iguider now passed Kiprop with a move from 300m out. Kiprop latched on but Makhloufi and Kwemoi both shadowed the duo with Farah just out of contact. Down the home-stretch, Kwemoi blasted for home to take the win while Manangoi came from nowhere to take second with a massive kick. Kiprop seemed to feel the effects of the fast early pace as he rigged home while Mahkloufi slipped by Iguider.

This seemed to be the year of Kiprop and perhaps if he had run a more conservative race, he would’ve taken this one. However, the duo of Kwemoi and Manangoi have proved they are the real deal and this one will be wide open come Rio. Farah showed his speed is in good form. Perhaps in a more well paced race we would’ve seen a performance on par with his 3:28 but for a tactical affair, Farah performed well for a 10,000m man.

Results -

Ronald KWEMOI KEN 95 3:30.49

Elijah Motonei MANANGOI KEN 93 3:31.19

Taoufik MAKHLOUFI ALG 88 3:31.35

Abdelaati IGUIDER MAR 87 3:31.54

Mo FARAH GBR 83 3:31.74

Asbel KIPROP KEN 89 3:32.03

Ryan GREGSON AUS 90 3:32.13

Jakub HOLUŠA CZE 88 3:33.36

Charlie GRICE GBR 93 3:33.60

Filip INGEBRIGTSEN NOR 93 3:33.72

Charles PHILIBERT-THIBOUTOT CAN 90 3:34.24

Henrik INGEBRIGTSEN NOR 91 3:34.57

Bethwell BIRGEN KEN 88 3:35.16

Florian CARVALHO FRA 89 3:35.29

– Andrew Kiptoo ROTICH KEN 87 DNF

– Jackson Mumbwa KIVUVA

Men’s 800m

This field was admittedly a bit water-down as most of the best did not enter the race (namely, Rudisha). However, the field did feature Kenyan Olympic Trials champion Alfred Kipketer as well as the Polish half-miler Adam Kszczot, who finished second at last years World Championships . The strength of the field, or lack thereof, showed as the rabbit took off at a good tempo of 50.5 through 400m but the field lagged almost a second behind. Kipketer ran aggressively down the back stretch and hung on over a late charge by Kszczot.

At the Kenyan Trials, Rudisha was well beaten by Kipketer and this probably proves that Alfred Kipketer is the man to beat at the Olympics. Still, the race wasn’t fast and we haven’t really seen the likes of Amel Tuka or Nijel Amos. It appears that a spot on the podium may be open for the likes of Boris Berian or the newly minted US Olympic Champion Clayton Murphy.

Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result

1. Alfred KIPKETER KEN 96 1:44.47

2. Adam KSZCZOT POL 89 1:44.49 SB

3. Marcin LEWANDOWSKI POL 87 1:44.59 SB

4. Brandon MCBRIDE CAN 94 1:44.90

5. Jonathan KITILIT KEN 94 1:45.00

6. Michael RIMMER GBR 86 1:45.38

7. Samir DAHMANI FRA 91 1:45.51 PB

8. Nicholas Kiplangat KIPKOECH KEN 92 1:46.35

9. Luke MATHEWS AUS 95 1:47.00

10. Brice ETES MON 84 1:48.73 SB

– Bram SOM NED 80 DNF

Women’s 800m

This would prove to be the race of the day as this may have been the greatest field ever assembled in the women’s 800m. The top 3 seeded women, Caster Semenya, Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui with PRs of 1:55, 1:56 and 1:57, respectively, were assuredly the class of the field and head above even 2013 world champion Eunice Sum.

Semenya obliterated the field and made a 1:55 look EASY. Niyonsaba and Wambui were able to chase Semenya to the line and were rewarded with a pair of 1:56 PBs. Further back, Eunice Sum performed well coming away with a 1:57. Rounding out the top half of the field, American Molly Ludlow rebounded from a 4th place showing at the trials with a 1:57 performance, a big pr. At the US trials, Ludlow was bumped going round the curve and perhaps in hindsight she may have been well on her way to making her first olympic team had she not been impeded given her stellar performance here.

Regarding Semenya, she should just be given the olympic gold now. She is ranked 9th in the world in the 400m and that was off of a one day triple performance. Semenya has now kicked away from the field in slow races and front run in a fast one. She is simply unbeatable. The podium seems well locked up as well. World Indoor champion and bronze medalists Niyonsaba and Wambui appear to have those cinched barring injury or a fall in the Olympic race.

800 Metres - Women

Pts

1 Semenya , Caster RSA 1:55.33 10

2 Niyonsaba , Francine BDI 1:56.24 6

3 Wambui , Margaret Nyairera KEN 1:56.64 DQ 4

3 Sum , Eunice Jepkoech KEN 1:57.47 3

4 Beckwith-Ludlow , Molly USA 1:57.68 2

5 Sharp , Lynsey GBR 1:57.75 1

6 Cichocka , Angelika POL 1:58.97

7 Alemu , Habitam ETH 1:59.68

8 Tsegay , Gudaf ETH 1:59.77

9 Santiusti , Yusneysi ITA 2:00.04

10 Moh , Clarisse FRA 2:03.71

Men’s 3000m Steeplechase

All season this has been the Conselus Kipruto show as he has put on a clinic in every diamond league steeplechase so far this season. A sub 8:00 minute showing had eluded him thus far but with the next best runner having a season best of just 8:08 it seemed unlikely he would pushed to that kind of performance today.

From the gun Kipruto seemed anxious to get going as he edged close to the rabbits and a 2:40 first 1000m was followed by an even more pedestrian 2:45. With a lap to run, Kipruto found himself in a duel against Koech and the 21 year old Barnabas Kipyego. However, Kipruto accelerated through the entire last lap giving just enough to dispatch the field - a 61 second clocking over barriers. Kipruto has made it clear he wants a fast pace in Rio but he appears to have no problem kicking hard over barriers, either.

American Evan Jager best be fine tuning his kick if he wants to contend for gold - Kipruto ran 8:08 here with a 61 second last lap while Jager was only able to close in 62 in an 8:22 race. He will probably need to have similar closing speed in a much faster race if he wants to be in the hunt.

Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result

1. Conseslus KIPRUTO KEN 94 8:08.11

2. Paul Kipsiele KOECH KEN 81 8:08.32 SB

3. Barnabas KIPYEGO KEN 95 8:09.13 PB

4. Soufiane EL BAKKALI MAR 96 8:14.41 PB

5. Abraham KIBIWOTT KEN 96 8:14.84

6. Andrew BAYER USA 90 8:17.39 PB

7. Lawrence Kemboi KIPSANG KEN 93 8:19.15

8. Sebastián MARTOS ESP 89 8:19.33 SB

9. John KOECH BRN 95 8:20.11

10. Benjamin KIPLAGAT UGA 89 8:20.35 SB

11. Abdelhamid ZERRIFI ALG 86 8:28.14 SB

12. Valentin PEPIOT FRA 91 8:30.28PB

13. Jigisa TOLOSA ETH 96 8:43.46

14. Mitko TSENOV BUL 93 8:46.14

– Djilali BEDRANI FRA 93 DNF

– Bernard NGANGA KEN 85 DNF

Women’s 3000m

This race went much to plan as Helen Obiri continued her superb season with a 3 second victory in 8:24. If anything, the performance simply demonstrated the kind of strength needed to make it through the rounds and semis for a 1500m runner. If Genzebe Dibaba falters, expect Obiri to come through in Rio.

Further back, Katie Mackey of the Brooks Beasts was able to follow up a sub-par Olympic trials with a nice 6 second PR with an 8:46.

Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result

1. Hellen OBIRI KEN 89 8:24.27

2. Mercy CHERONO KEN 91 8:27.25

3. Janet KISA KEN 92 8:28.33 PB

4. Karoline Bjerkeli GRØVDAL NOR 90 8:39.47 PB

5. Stephanie TWELL GBR 89 8:40.98 PB

6. Nicole SIFUENTES CAN 86 8:46.25 PB

7. Katie MACKEY USA 87 8:46.58 PB

8. Dominique SCOTT RSA 92 8:46.65 PB

9. Dera DIDA ETH 96 8:48.31 PB

10. Gabriele GRUNEWALD USA 86 8:59.72

11. Rosie CLARKE GBR 91 9:15.04 PB

– Olga RULEVITS BLR 89 DNF

Women’s 100m

Daphne Schippers proved she is the woman to beat in Rio as Veronica Campbell-Brown was far back. Americans may need to be worried as Tianna Bartoletta was only 5th despite finishing 2nd at the US trials. Perhaps Bartoletta simply needs to find her legs after travelling to Europe but that didn’t seem to stop her compatriots Katie Mackey or Molly Ludlow from scoring some substantial PBs.

Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result

1. Dafne SCHIPPERS NED 92 10.94

2. Veronica CAMPBELL-BROWN JAM 82 11.12

3. Carina HORN RSA 89 11.14

4. Morolake AKINOSUN USA 94 11.18

5. Tianna BARTOLETTA USA 85 11.21

6. Desiree HENRY GBR 95 11.21

7. Madiea GHAFOOR NED 92 11.60

– Marie-Josee TA LOU CIV 88 DQ