Boots On the Ground in Monaco: What did track and field’s stars tell after racing on Friday?

July 13, 2019

Unfortunately, doesn’t go to most of the Diamond League meets. Sure we go to Pre every year, went to Stockholm in 2012, Lausanne, Paris, and Monaco in 2013, and Birmingham and the Diamond League final in 2017 (and maybe a few others we can’t think of), but at most meets we don’t have someone there.

Maybe that should change as a matter of policy, but fortunately this year we had boots on the ground at Friday’s incredible Herculis Monaco Diamond League athletics meeting, which proved to be one of the best track and field meets of the year.

Konrad Surkont, who had helped us cover the 2013 Paris Diamond League meet, was in Monaco this year, so we enlisted his services. And what a meet he got to see as Sifan Hassan broke the world record in the mile, Justin Gatlin defeated Noah Lyles, and Nijel Amos went 1:41 at 800.

We were WhatsApping with him during the meet and he gave us some thoughts afterwards about the athletes he talked to. Below we present six interviews he conducted plus more detailed thoughts of his post-race observations as well as the finish of the 400 meters that never was.

Sydney McLaughlin might start wearing glasses (or get contacts) to see the hurdles better

Hard to believe, but Sydney McLaughlin, despite setting a world leader, said she may need to start wearing contacts to see the hurdles better. She was excited about her time and thinks there are some technical portions of her race she can still work on (stride pattern, etc.), but her main problem was her eyesight. She said she contemplated wearing glasses in the race.

Ajee’ Wilson controlled the women’s 800 after not going with rabbit

Ajee’ Wilson kept her winning ways going in races without Caster Semenya. She was happy with her 0.5-second SB. She felt the pacer was too hot early on, so ran her own race from the front. She mentioned that it is important for USAs/Worlds to be able to run without the rabbit.

Noah Lyles: “I’m more excited about that start…The 100 in the future is going to be dangerous and this 200 is going to be more dangerous.”

Lyles confirmed he’s just going to run the 200 at USAs, but despite getting beat by Justin Gatlin here, he was very pleased with his start. He was closer to Gatlin early than many expected, and down the road Lyles thinks that means big things. “The 100 in the future is going to be dangerous and this 200 is going to be more dangerous.”

Nijel Amos pumped to be back in the 1:41s

Amos was the last guy in the world to go sub-1:42 (for 2nd place at the 2012 Olympics) and was excited to be back in the 1:41s. Amos said having OTC teammate Harun Abda as the pacer meant that he could trust the pace and focus on running hard from the front.

Konrad’s general impression of Amos: I’ve always heard that Amos is very jovial and tonight confirmed it. He ran around the mixed zone smiling, joking and even posing with some of the press members.

Gatlin: Still plenty of time to get faster

Gatlin’s time may not have been that fast (9.91), but he was glad to get the win. He knows he didn’t break 10 until the Pre meet (June 30) and Worlds are a long way away (more than two months), so he’s got plenty of time to get into the 9.7s or faster.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen: “The other guys didn’t come here to run fast as you saw…I didn’t come here to run slow.”

The 18-year-old showed no fear, not holding back early and then wasn’t afraid to take the lead from Timothy Cheruiyot at 1200m before having to settle for second. Jakob didn’t like it that the other guys didn’t want to run fast so he took things into his own hands. “The other guys didn’t come here to run fast as you saw…I didn’t come here to run slow,” he said.

Filip Ingebrigtsen: The 3:30 barrier still there for the Ingebrigtsens

Filip knows it’s just a matter of the finding the right race before both Ingebrigtsen brothers dip under 3:30. “You can’t order fast times.” He mentioned they’re in the middle of heavy racing schedule (three 1500/mile races in three weeks: Lausanne, Monaco, and London). When asked about the heavy racing schedule, he said, “That’s why we train; to compete.”

Jonathan Jones: The lonely 400m man

Before the Monaco meet went super fast with Amos running 1:41 and Sifan Hassan breaking the world record in the mile, Monaco had gone weird. In the men’s 400m, there was a false start, but Jonathan Jones in lane 7 didn’t know it and he ran the entire 400m, including the final 100m all by himself, clocking an unofficial 44.6.

Fans in the stadium got to see this:

Jones, who just finished his freshman year at the University of Texas, said he never heard the race called back and saw Anthony Zambrano in lane 8 running next to him the first 250m meters. 44.6 would be Jones’ second-fastest time ever, which was some consolation. Jones’ final race of the season will be the Pan Am Games.

If you missed the action in Monaco, we had three post-race stories:

  1. Sifan Hassan Runs 4:12.33 to Break World Record in Brave Like Gabe Mile in Monaco
  2. Monaco Recap: Justin Gatlin Defeats Noah Lyles, Ajee’ Wilson Wins, Cheruiyot Over Ingebrigtsen, McLaughlin World Leader Monaco annually seems to be the highlight of the Diamond League season and the 2019 version did not disappoint.
  3. The 1:41 Club is Back: Nijel Amos Runs 1:41.89 in Monaco Nijel Amos was the last man to go sub 1:42 back in 2012 until he did it again in Monaco.
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