Diamond League

An Epic Clash Set For The Men's 400mH In Monaco, Plus A Fast 800m And More

An Epic Clash Set For The Men's 400mH In Monaco, Plus A Fast 800m And More

The next Diamond League in Monaco could feature even more world record attempts, and an off-distance race that could signal the burgeoning of a new star.

Jul 10, 2024 by Tim O'Hearn
An Epic Clash Set For The Men's 400mH In Monaco, Plus A Fast 800m And More

Some of the biggest stars in track and field have competed at Louis II Stadium in Monaco, where many world records have been set. 

With the start of the Paris Olympics just a few weeks away, there will be a lot of attention on this year’s Herculis meet, as top-ranked athletes look to assert superior fitness and formidable contenders round into peak form. 

The Monaco Diamond League will feature big matchups and at least one off-distance record attempt packed into two hours of action.

An Epic 400mH Clash Of The Titans

In the men’s 400mH, we are in for an epic clash of the world's best. 

The United States' Rai Benjamin, Brazil’s Alison dos Santos and Norway's Karston Warholm -- the world's No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 at the distance -- are all scheduled to compete in Monaco, making the Diamond League race one of the most accomplished fields in recent memory. 

The storyline within the storyline, meanwhile, will be Warholm and dos Santos, who battled on May 30 in Oslo, with dos Santos silencing the crowd and sparking a conversation as to who the favorite would be heading into the Olympics. 

Then we got Benjamin at the U.S. Olympic Trials, who emerged as the world leader with his dominant 46.46. 

We'll also see the fourth, fifth and seventh-fastest runners in the world join the field, one being American CJ Allen, who qualified for the U.S. team this year.

Flipping the Script in the Men’s 800m

The men’s 800m race at the London Olympics, paced by David Rudisha’s world record, has become the stuff of legend. 

In the years since, the event has been a sideshow to the 1,500m. Popular opinion has been that the event had regressed. 

But in just one meet -- at Sunday’s Paris Diamond League -- the men’s 800m went from the 1,500m’s little brother to perhaps the most intriguing men’s running event in the world this year. 

In that race, Djamel Sedjati ran 1:41.56, Emmanuel Wanyonyi ran 1:41.58 and Gabriel Tual followed in 1:41.61. Two of these three return to run the 800m in Monaco -- Sedjati and Tual -- and they’ll be joined by 2023 World Champion Marco Arop as well as bronze medalist Ben Pattison and U.S. champion Bryce Hoppel. 

The performances in Paris were unprecedented to the extent that Arop’s personal best of 1:42.85 now looks somewhat distant. 

Tual didn’t manage to qualify for the final in Budapest last year, yet he’s now more than a second faster than Arop.

A formidable lineup including Sedjati, Arop, Pattison, Tual and Hoppel creates the prospect of a historic 800 race on Sunday.

Overviewing The Sprint Fields

The 110mH will feature a dominant Grant Holloway paired against recent Paris Diamond League winner Sasha Zhoya, along with the United States' Cordell Tinch and Trey Cunningham. Tinch will be looking to avenge his fourth-place finish at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

In the men’s 400m, 19-year-old world leader Christopher Morales-Williams (44.05 SB) of Canada will face off against five men who have also run under 44.80 this season. Americans Quincy Hall (44.17 SB) and Vernon Norwood (44.47 SB) will provide the stiffest competition. Though 2024 is shaping up to be a down year for the 400m, the greatest expectation coming into this race would be that Morales-Williams could run sub-44 to establish the favorite heading into the Olympics.

The men’s 200m field will feature Letsile Tebogo and Ugandan Tarsis Orogot, the recent University of Alabama star. Tebogo has run exceptionally fast, with a season best of 19.71 and a career mark of 19.50. It’s unlikely the world record falls in Monaco, but a sub-19.50 would have major implications for the 200m and the 100m at the Olympics. 

The women’s 100m, the last event of the evening, has Julien Alfred as the marquee runner. This event being the final event in the program suggests that Sha’Carri Richardson or several Jamaican women were sought for this field, yet did not materialize. As it stands, Alfred should win easily, though she will see tests from Tamari Davis (10.91 SB), and Marie-Josee Ta Lou-Smith (10.91 SB). 

Ingebrigtsen Against the Field

Jakob Ingebrigtsen is now a father. His son Filippa was born on June 25. He will return to racing to encounter a tough field on one of the fastest tracks on the circuit. This race being the first top-level 1,500m since countries completed their Olympic team selection, the men will come ready to throw down fast times.

There’s Timothy Cheruyiot, who Ingebrigtsen fought to the line in Oslo, as well as Azeddine Habz and Isaac Nader, who fought for third and fourth behind them. Most interesting is Yared Nuguese, who is coming off a second-place finish at the U.S. Championships and is surely searching for a second career Diamond League win.

All things considered, if Ingebrigtsen front runs a 3:29 high, this race could be lost in the shadow of the great 800m occurring 71 minutes earlier. What fans should really look for here is a wicked-fast 3:28 race in which several competitors are pulled to new heights. 

Narve Gilje Nordås, Neil Gourley, Brian Komen, Niels Laros and Pietro Arese have yet to show that they can definitely make the Olympic final. This race will present the last opportunity to race all out before the opening round in Paris.

Jess Hull To Attempt the 2000m World Record?

Australian Jess Hull just ran the race of her life. In the 1,500m, she clocked 3:50.83 behind Faith Kipyegon’s new world record of 3:49.04. 

While Kipyegon’s mark was impressive, the Kenyan was already the world record-holder and her improvement was modest. Hull, on the other hand, stuck with Kipyegon for most of the race, taking more than five seconds off her previous best, which had stood at 3:55.97.

In what was a magical day in Paris, Hull went from a fringe medal contender to one of the most frightening middle-distance runners in the world. 

While no one would fault Hull for laying low until the Olympics, her presence in the 2,000m field in Monaco could signal that she’s ready to take a stab at the 2,000m world record. The current record in this seldom-run distance is 5:21.56, set by Francine Niyonsaba in 2021.

The distance is hard to analyze. Of the top 30 performances, only six have been run in the last decade. None of the 13 women in the field appear to have ever run the race distance. On the basis of points equivalence, Hull’s 3:50 easily translates to a sub-5:20 2K performance. 

All eyes will be on her, and the expectation is that this will be a field with two high-quality pacers. With a world record here, and especially with a 5:16-range performance, Hull would definitely become a medal favorite in Paris.

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