Previews09 Jul 2024

Rematches and global champions on show in Monaco


Karsten Warholm wins the 400m hurdles at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Monaco (© AFP / Getty Images)

Fields full of global champions, world record-holders and top-class clashes will feature at the Herculis EBS – the penultimate Wanda Diamond League meeting before the Paris 2024 Olympic Games – in Monaco on Friday (12).

Just five days on from the Diamond League meeting in the French capital, where world records by Yaroslava Mahuchikh and Faith Kipyegon were among the performances that lit up the Stade Charlety, some of the sport’s biggest stars head to the Stade Louis II where they will be looking to make some statements of their own.

The top three on the world all-time list – Norway's world record-holder Karsten Warholm, USA's Rai Benjamin and Brazil’s Alison dos Santos – all clash in the men's 400m hurdles. It's the first time the trio will meet since the Diamond League final in Eugene last year, won by Benjamin in 46.39 ahead of Warholm, and should prove to be a perfect Paris Olympics preview.

Olympic and world champion Warholm set a meeting record – which at that time was also a Diamond League record – when winning in Monaco in 46.51 last year. The 2022 world gold medallist Dos Santos was second on that occasion but he is unbeaten in his specialist event so far this year, with all those victories coming on the Diamond League stage – in Doha, Stockholm, Paris and Oslo, where he beat Warholm. For Olympic silver medallist Benjamin, this is a first Diamond League event of the year following his wins in Los Angeles in May and at the US Olympic trials in a world-leading 46.46.

It was in Monaco's mile last year that Kipyegon set another of her world records, at a meeting that has become known as a middle-distance mecca. This year’s programme includes the men’s 800m and after the world all-time list was subject to serious revision in Paris, Monaco offers a rematch.

Kenya’s Emmanuel Wanyonyi became the then third-fastest 800m runner in history at the Kenyan Olympic trials in Nairobi last month, running 1:41.70 to put him behind only world record-holder David Rudisha (1:40.91) and Wilson Kipketer (1:41.11). He went even faster in Paris with 1:41.58, but remarkably that wasn’t enough to win the race and he was even almost pipped into third. Algeria’s Djamel Sedjati ran 1:41.56 and Gabriel Tual of France clocked 1:41.61 in a race of historic depth, and Sedjati, Wanyonyi and Tual now respectively sit third, fourth and fifth on the world all-time list.

While Wanyonyi is no longer among the entries, Sedjati and Tual clash again in Monaco and this time they are joined by Canada’s Marco Arop, who got world gold in Budapest last year. After winning at the Diamond League meeting in Xiamen and at the Canadian Championships, and with his place for the Olympic Games now secured, Arop will be looking for another strong run as he takes on a field that also features world bronze medallist Ben Pattison, Benjamin Robert and Andreas Kramer, who improved his Swedish record in Paris. The meeting record stands at 1:41.98.

Gabriel Tual, Djamel Sedjati and Emmanuel Wanyonyi clash in the 800m

Gabriel Tual, Djamel Sedjati and Emmanuel Wanyonyi clash in the 800m (© Ed Hall / Diamond League AG)

Australia’s Jessica Hull was another of the stars of Paris as she set an Oceanian 1500m record of 3:50.83 when finishing second behind Kipyegon’s world record, becoming the fifth-fastest of all time. Hull will take on the 2000m in Monaco against athletes including Ethiopia’s two-time world indoor silver medallist Axumawit Embaye, Kenya’s Edinah Jebitok and Ciara Mageean, who will be back on the track on which she set her Irish record when finishing second behind Kipyegon’s world mile record last year.

In the men’s 1500m, Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen will also be looking for a pre-Paris boost as he follows his 1500m and 5000m golden doubles at the European Championships and Norwegian Championships by contesting the shorter event back on the Diamond League stage. 

He won the 1500m in Oslo in a world-leading 3:29.74 ahead of Kenya’s Olympic silver medallist Timothy Cheruiyot and Azeddine Habz of France at the end of May and the trio meet again in Monaco, where they will also face USA’s Yared Nuguse, Norway’s Narve Gilje Nordas and Niels Laros of the Netherlands, who set a world U20 1000m record in Hengelo on Sunday.

The women’s 5000m features Ethiopia’s Tsigie Gebreselama, who won in Eugene in a world-leading 14:18.76, against her compatriots Marta Alemayo, Likina Amebaw and Aynadis Mebratu, plus Nadia Battocletti, who set an Italian record of 14:35.29 to win the European title as part of a 5000m and 10,000m double.

Top track match-ups

In the 110m hurdles, USA's three-time world champion Grant Holloway returns to the Diamond League for the first time since his win in Eugene in May. He will want to maintain his unbeaten streak this season but Jamaican champion Rasheed Broadbell and Sasha Zhoya of France – who equalled his PB of 13.15 to win in Paris – will also be on the hunt for confidence-boosting performances. USA's Trey Cunningham adds further strength to the field.

Holloway, who set a world lead of 12.86 at the end of last month, won in Monaco in 12.99 in 2022 and the meeting record of 12.92 set by Aries Merritt in 2012 could be within reach.

The women’s 100m is the final track event on the programme and another top-quality field will be looking to ensure things end on a high. Saint Lucia’s world indoor 60m champion Julien Alfred, who ran a national record of 10.78 in Kingston last month, lines up alongside USA’s Tamari Davis, Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith and Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Cote d’Ivoire.

Botswana’s world bronze medallist Letsile Tebogo, who ran 19.71 in Nairobi in April, tops the entry list for a men's 200m no longer featuring six-time world gold medallist Noah Lyles. He takes on Uganda's Tarsis Orogot, who set a national record of 19.75 in Gainesville in May, and Dominican Republic's Alexander Ogando.

Rhasidat Adeleke, who improved the Irish 400m record to 49.07 at the European Championships, takes on USA’s Kendall Ellis, Alexis Holmes and Shamier Little, plus Lieke Klaver of the Netherlands, over one lap.

In the men’s race, Canada’s 19-year-old Christopher Morales Williams – who ran the fastest ever indoor 400m back in February – makes his Diamond League debut as part of a field that features USA's Quincy Hall and Vernon Norwood, plus Bayapo Ndori of Botswana.

World champions collide

Another great clash comes in the women’s pole vault, where world champions Nina Kennedy, Katie Moon and Molly Caudery all compete.

Molly Caudery in Ostrava

Molly Caudery in Ostrava (© Organisers)

Australia’s Kennedy and USA’s Moon shared world gold in Budapest last year, while Britain’s Caudery vaulted to the world indoor title in March, and it’s Caudery who leads the world top list so far this season thanks to the national record of 4.92m she set in Toulouse last month. Moon is just behind her on 4.85m, while Kennedy has cleared 4.80m this year. Joining them in the field are Switzerland's Angelica Moser and Canada's Alysha Newman.

World leader Gianmarco Tamberi is among the entries for the high jump, alongside world indoor champion Hamish Kerr, 2022 world indoor gold medallist Woo Sanghyeok and world silver medallist JuVaughn Harrison. Italy’s Olympic and world champion Tamberi cleared 2.37m in Rome last month but decided not to jump at his most recent competition in Szekesfehervar on Tuesday as a precaution.

In the women’s triple jump, Dominica’s world leader Thea LaFond, who leapt 15.01m to win the world indoor title in Glasgow, will go up against Spain’s Olympic bronze medallist Ana Peleteiro-Compaore, who jumped 14.85m to win the European title, plus Leyanis Perez Hernandez, Shanieka Ricketts and Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk, making her season debut in the discipline. 

The women’s javelin kicks off Friday’s competition and pits Japan's world champion Haruka Kitaguchi against world bronze medallist Mackenzie Little and European champion Victoria Hudson.

Jess Whittington for World Athletics