Several world record holders will be in action when the Wanda Diamond League campaign continues at Herculis EBS Monaco this Friday. Here are five things to look out for at the Stade Louis II.
Monaco: Five things to look out for
Faith Kipyegon stunned the world last month when she broke two world records at two successive Wanda Diamond League meetings. If her 3.49.11 in the 1500m at Florence had been some time coming, her 14:05.20 in Paris a week later came as a surprise even to the Kenyan herself. She admitted ahead of that meeting to being a little tired, but a few weeks on, who knows what the 29-year-old is capable of when she takes on the mile in Monaco on Friday? It might be too much to expect a third world record of the season, but with Kipyegon, you never quite know.
Karsten Warholm returned to Diamond League action with a bang last month when he stormed to victory in 46.52, the fourth fastest time in history and a Diamond League record. The Norwegian will be out to build on that success in Monaco as he continues his quest to regain the Diamond Trophy he lost in a injury-plagued season last year. At Herculis, he will go up against current champion Alison Dos Santos and long-time US rival Rai Benjamin in a race which has the air of a dry run for the World Championships and the Diamond League final. Warholm has good memories of Monaco, having won here in 2020 and 2021.
The world record holder in the 400m hurdles, Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone has shifted her focus to the 400m flat this season, with impressive results. Racing in the Diamond League for the first time since she won the 400m hurdles title in 2019, the American finished a strong second behind current 400m champion Marileidy Paulino in Paris last month, posting a personal best of 49.71. She has since improved that mark, going below 49 seconds at the USA national championships in Eugene on July 8th. A first Diamond League win in four years may not be far away, with McLaughlin-Levrone going up against compatriot Shamier Little and in-form Polish star Natalia Kaczmarek.
The men's triple jump field contains a whole host of familiar names in Monaco, with seven-time Diamond League champion Christian Taylor and local star Jean-Marc Pontvianne among them. The real battle, however, will arguably be between Andy Diaz and Pedro Pablo Pichardo. World and Olympic champion Pichardo is aiming to win back the Diamond Trophy this year after losing it to Diaz in 2022, with their shared Cuban heritage only adding extra spice to the rivalry. They have two wins apiece in the Diamond League so far this season, with Pichardo winning in Doha before Diaz's triumph in Florence.
Kipyegon wasn't the only athlete to break a world record in Paris, with Ethiopia's Lamecha Girma als making history in the 3000m steeplechase. His world record of 7:53.63 was one which Morocco's Soufiane El Bakkali has also been chasing for some time, and the Olympic champion has made no secret of his desire to break the record himself in the near future. Whether or not that will be possible in Monaco remains to be seen. The Moroccan's last two victories in Stockholm and Silesia came with relatively modest times well above the eight-minute mark, and he may yet only hit his best form come the World Athletics Championships next month. But the Stade Louis II is a famously fast track, and El Bakkali has already gone under eight minutes in Rabat this season.