|Faith Kipyegon already in Monaco for the Diamond League meeting on 9th July. Photo courtesy of Faith Kipyegon's Facebook page.|
It has been more than one year since Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot ran against Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen. The men’s 1500m race here will finally present the opportunity for the two to face each other. Cheruiyot has the fastest seasonal best and personal best times on the start list, but his opponent could see a weakness in the fact that he finished fourth at the Kenyan Olympic trials and was not named in the team. Ingebrigtsen who has been unbeaten in the 1500m and 5000m distances this year, and is ranked as world number two behind Cheruiyot, will most likely be hoping to prove that he is the best in the world by beating the best.
Another one of the highly anticipated races of the evening will be the women’s 1500m race that has Netherland’s Sifan Hassan and Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon. The two ran a fantastic race last month in Rome where Hassan registered a world-leading and meeting record time of 3:53.63 as she edged Kipyegon who registered a new national record and a personal best time of 3:53.91. Hailu Freweyni of Ethiopia is the only other competitor with a seasonal best time of under 4 minutes, but the clear protagonists here will be Hassan and Kipyegon.
The women’s 3000m Steeplechase race has all the world’s top 5 ranked runners on the start list. Beatrice Chepkoech, Emma Coburn, Felicitas Krause, Hyvin Kiyeng and Winfred Yavi will all be there. Kiyeng has particularly been in good form this year and just set a meeting record in Stockholm by running a seasonal best time of 9:04.34, but will meet Coburn who is fresh from winning the US national trials.
The women’s 800m lines up the 2021 unbeaten Rose Mary Almanza against a competitive field of nine other runners who have all gone under 1:59:00 for the distance. With their personal best times falling roughly within two seconds, it will be one interesting race to watch.
One race that will seem to be the most unpredictable will be the men’s 800m. Elliot Giles just beat Ferguson Rotich and Clayton Murphy on Tuesday 6th July at the World Continental tour race in Hungary, but Rotich had won the Stockholm Diamond League where Giles had finished 3rd two days before that!
The absence of Soufiane El Bakkali in the men’s 3000m steeplechase race robs us of the opportunity to predict how the event is likely to play out in Tokyo. But, we shall get the opportunity to see Kenya’s medal prospect, Abraham Kibiwot in action in a competitive field.