African middle distance stars headline Monaco Diamond League event on Friday
JOHANNESBURG - African middle distance athletes, led by Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei, will pull much of the focus in the Monaco Diamond League event on Friday.
Thirteen reigning world champions from around the globe are converging on Monaco this week for the first Diamond League meeting that will resemble a regular top-flight international one-day meeting since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Herculis meeting organisers have moved mountains, while observing strict health and safety protocols, in order to present what shapes as the strongest fields of a truncated international season for Friday night’s meeting at Stade Louis II, which will have a reduced capacity of 5000 spectators to allow social distancing.
Contingents of athletes from Africa and the United States arrived in Monaco on Monday, having undergone Covid-19 tests before departure and after arrival to prove they have not been infected with the virus.
As has become customary in Monaco in recent years, the spotlight will be on middle-distance events which will feature the men’s world champions over 800m (American Donavan Brazier), 1500m (Kenyan Timothy Cheruiyot), and 10,000m (Ugandan Cheptegei) and the women’s world champions over 800m (Ugandan Hamilah Nakaayi), 1500m and 10,000m (Ethiopian-born Sifan Hassan), 5000m (Kenyan Hellen Obiri) and 3000m steeplechase (Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech).
The women’s 5000m alone will bring together three world champions as Dutchwoman Hassan, who broke the world mile record at this meeting last year, and Chepkoech have elected to join Obiri in a clash of the titans. World 10,000m silver medallist Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia will also be in the mix in an exceptional field.
The men’s event will be equally intriguing as world 10,000m champion Cheptegei steps down in distance. He’s another who has set world records in Monaco before, establishing a 5km mark on the road in February this year.
The men’s 800m will feature all three medallists from the World Championships in Doha as Brazier renews acquaintance with silver medallist Amel Tuka of Bosnia Herzegovina and bronze medallist Ferguson Rotich of Kenya.
African News Agency (ANA)