Timothy Simwa in Monaco
World 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop has his eyes set on defending his title in next month’s World Championships in London and wants to begin proper preparations for that event by winning tonight at the 30th Herculis Meeting in the Principality of Monaco, when the IAAF Diamond League circuit makes its 11th stop.
The 28-year-old, who will be running his fourth Diamond League race in 2017, has not had a stellar season, his best performance being a third place finish in the 800m in London early this month but has exuded confidence in the wake of a still challenge in the mile race.
“I have an attachment to this leg that makes me want to be here when it happens. Having gauged everything plus weather, I have every reason to believe I am pulling my personal best a notch higher that will boost my morale ahead of the London championships,” said Kiprop, who will have to contend with a stellar cast of Kenyan athletes that include world silver medallist and a two-time Diamond League Meet winner Elijah Manangoi.
Manangoi will have good memories from the Louis II track where he set his personal best of 3:29.67 two years ago. Other Kenyans in the race are debutant Kiboroni Boys High School Form Three student Justus Soget, Charles Simotwo, who finishing second on his debut in Lausanne, Timothy Cheruiyot, Ronald Kwemoi, Jackson Kivuva and Charles Cheboi.
In the event that will be lit up by Jamaican sprint sensation Usain Bolt, Kenya’s Hellen Obiri is the other high performer expected. Obiri is in the form of her life after setting the 5,000m National Record in Rome last month and will be competing in the women’s 3,000m as she works on her speed ahead of the London showpiece.
She will be joined by Margaret Chelimo, who will be running alongside her in the 5,000m in London, 2015 World Cross-Country champion Agnes Tirop, who will be competing in the 10,000m in London, as well as Lilian Kasait and Nelly Jepkosgei.
Another race that will be watched with bated breath is the men’s 3,000m steeplechase which will see Conseslus Kipruto, Jairus Birech, Abraham Kibiwott, Benjamin Kigen, Justus Kipkorir and Amos Kirui face a formidable challenge from Kenyan-turned Americans Haron Lagat, Stanley Kebenei and Hillary Bor who will team up with Evan Jagger.
Former world 800m champion Eunice Sum will be fighting for a place in the two-lap race alongside compatriot Margaret Nyairera. The two will be out to upstage Castor Semenya and Francine Niyonsaba.