Last updated 1 month ago | By Stephen Rutto
It is expected to be full of energy, exhilaration and surprises as athletics stars face off tonight in the Monaco Diamond League.
Being the first international athletics display this year, track stars will be seeking to stamp their authority in various fields.
The Diamond League season was to start in April, but the coronavirus pandemic disrupted sporting activities and paralysed international travels, resulting in postponement and cancellation of competitions.
In the last two months, some Diamond League meetings including Oslo and Zurich were remodeled to have fewer events less number of athletes from different countries.
The major attraction today in the French meet is the epic race between World 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot and one of the Ingebrigtsen brothers, Jakob.
Cheruiyot, who boasts a personal best of 3:28.41 in 1500m, and the Norwegian, will be renewing their rivalry after the Kenyan tasted defeat in a 2,000m virtual race dubbed the ‘Impossible Games’ in June.
Jakob, the youngest of the Ingebrigtsens and the second-fastest man over the distance in 2019, emerged victorious in the June 2020 clash staged concurrently at Nyayo Stadium and Olso cities in 4:50.01 as Cheruiyot, who was running in a higher altitude and tough weather conditions, finished the race in 5:03.05.
In a scintillating 1,500m race last year, Cheruiyot ran from gun to tape on his way to victory in the world championships in Doha, Qatar last October. He ran 3.29.26.
Only one man has beaten Cheruiyot in three years, compatriot Elijah Manangoi, who is provisionally suspended due to whereabouts failures.
The 1,500m field also includes Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha, the indoor mile world-record holder, Pole Marcin Lewandowski (world bronze medallist) and Craig Engels (2019 United State’s champion, who was 10th at World championships).
Olympic and world 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto, had been confirmed for the Monaco Diamond League but could not travel after he tested positive for coronavirus last week. He is asymptomatic.
In 800m, the 2017 and 2019 Diamond League trophy winner Ferguson Rotich will be challenging world champion Brazier Donavan of the United States for the title.
And in 3,000m steeplechase, World U-20 champion Leornard Bett is the only Kenyan athlete in the race.
In the women’s event Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon will face off with Uganda’s 800m world champion Halimah Nakaayi and Briton Laura Muir in a 1,000m race.
Two-time world champion Hellen Obiri will be in another star-studded field in 5000m.
Obiri will take on her compatriot 3000m steeplechase world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech in the 12.5 lap race.
She will also be competing for the title against Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan.
Hassan has lost four of five meetings to Obiri in a 5000m race.
Obiri and Chepkoech will be paced by 1500m Africa champion Winnie Chebet.
After Monaco, the Diamond League meets will move to Stockholm on August 23, Lausanne on September 2, Brussels (September 4), Naples (September 17, Doha (September 25) and China (October 17).