Monaco Recap: Justin Gatlin Defeats Noah Lyles, Ajee’ Wilson Wins, Cheruiyot Over Ingebrigtsen, McLaughlin World Leader

July 12, 2019

The 2019 Herculis Diamond League meeting in Monaco lived up to the hype.

The highlight was Sifan Hassan’s world record in the mile, which gets its own recap here: LRC Sifan Hassan Runs 4:12.33 to Break World Record in Brave Like Gabe Mile in Monaco

On the men’s side Nijel Amos became the first man under 1:42 in the 800 since 2012 and it gets its own recap here: LRC The 1:41 Club is Back: Nijel Amos Runs 1:41.73 in Monaco

We recap everything else below as Justin Gatlin beat Noah Lyles in their 100m showdown, Ajee’ Wilson got a big win, Sydney McLaughlin got a world leader, Piotr Lisek stayed hot in the pole vault, and Christian Taylor won an epic duel with Will Claye in the triple jump.

Men’s 1500: Timothy Cheruiyot wins again, but not without some drama; 8 men break 3:32

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Another 1500/mile on the Diamond League circuit and another win to Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot. Cheruiyot once again showed why he’s the best miler on the planet as for the 11th time in his last 12 races at a Diamond League venue, he picked up a win. But this one was fascinating to watch and much different than your standard Diamond League time trial.

Monaco is known for annually being the fastest of the Diamond League races, and early on Cheruiyot showed he wanted to run fast as he went past the rabbits just 500 meters into the race. Bram Som had taken the field through 400 in 55.08, a little slower than the 54.4 that was the first lap in Lausanne last week, and that slower pace allowed Cheruiyot’s competitors to stay close.

Cheruiyot’s first lap was 55.6 and he kept that pace on the second lap, running 55.7. Was he going for something special? Most viewers probably assumed yes, but soon it started to bunch up a bit behind him and the post-race splits reveal why.

1500 Metres – Men – Promotional Event
1 Cheruiyot , Timothy KEN 3:29.97
2 Ingebrigtsen , Jakob NOR 3:30.47
3 Musagala , Ronald UGA 3:30.58
4 Da’Vall Grice , Charlie GBR 3:30.62
5 Souleiman , Ayanleh DJI 3:31.38
6 Manangoi , George Meitamei KEN 3:31.49
7 Ingebrigtsen , Filip NOR 3:31.81
8 McSweyn , Stewart AUS 3:31.81
9 Simotwo , Charles Cheboi KEN 3:33.25
10 Kibet , Vincent KEN 3:33.36
11 Lewandowski , Marcin POL 3:34.14
12 Miellet , Alexis FRA 3:34.23
13 Kiprono , Brimin KEN 3:35.32
14 Kibet , Michael KEN 3:41.96
Som , Bram NED DNF

Cheruiyot slammed on the brakes, running the 200 between 800 and 1k in 29.3. As a result, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the 18-year-old world #2 who ran 3:30.16 last week, showed no fear and took the lead before the bell (2:34.9 for Ingebrigtsen, 2:35.1 for Cheruiyot). We had a real race on our hands.

Ingebrigtsen still led at 1200 (2:48.8), but then Cheruiyot came back and took the lead and no one could match him over the final 300 (41.1, final 200 of 27.4). Cheruiyot pumped both hands to celebrate just before the line as he won in 3:29.97 with Ingebrigsten a half-second back in 3:30.47.

Uganda’s Ronald Musagala set a national record for the second straight week as he ran 3:30.58 to place third (3:31.33 last week), just ahead of Brit Charlie Grice who ran a massive, nearly 3-second pb of 3:30.62 for fourth (previous pb of 3:33.60)

Quick Take: We loved this race

This race was full of surprises.

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  1. Cheruiyot passing the rabbits in the 2nd lap
  2. Ingebrigtsen passing Cheruiyot before the bell

But we’ll remember it as a textbook way for Cheruiyot to run Worlds. Run your first two laps in 55.5. If no one comes with you, then keep the gap and just time trial. If others come with you, or if you are feeling a little vulnerable, then slow it down, let them catch up, and then blow them away.

We’ve always thought an Olympic or World Championship final in an 800 or 1500 might be very nerve-wracking for a top Kenyan as they don’t grow up in the NCAA system and aren’t used to running tactical races. So while it doesn’t appear to have been intentional, as Cheruiyot said post-race he wanted to run faster, we think it was a brilliant dry run of what he should do at Worlds. 

Quick Take: Charlie Grice vaults up the all-time British rankings

Grice came in tied with Josh Kerr for 11th all-time on the UK list at 3:33.60. Now he’s all the way up to #4 as he became the fifth Brit to break 3:31. The other four are all legends in the sport.

All-Time British 1500 List
1 3:28.81 Mohamed Farah
2 3:29.67 Steve Cram
3 3:29.77 Sebastian Coe
4 3:30.62 Charlie Da’Vall Grice
5 3:30.77 Steven Ovett

Quick Take: Stewart McSweyn moves way up in Aussie rankings

The 24-year-old McSweyn had the biggest PB of the evening as he came in with a 3:34.82 pb but left with a 3:31.81 pb, making him the second-fastest Aussie in history (Ryan Gregson has the NR at 3:31.06). That’s the good news. The bad news is that only placed him 8th as this field was deep. It was just the sixth race in history to feature eight men under 3:32. Four of them have come in the last six years at Monaco.

Another person with a big PB was George Manangoi, the 18-year-old who denied Jakob Ingebrigtsen world junior gold last year and the younger brother of world champ Elijah Manangoi. Manangoi ran 3:31.49 (previous pb of 3:34.00) to finish 6th.

Women’s 800: Ajee’ Wilson holds off Natoya Goule FTW

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When Caster Semenya and Francine Niyonsaba are not in the field, Ajee’ Wilson is nearly impossible to beat. In fact, her last defeat to a woman not named Semenya or Niyonsaba came on this very track one year ago to Jamaica’s Natoya Goule, and Wilson avenged that defeat tonight with a front-running 1:57.73 victory. Goule, who ran close behind Wilson throughout, could never quite get around and had to settle for second in 1:57.90. Laura Muir ran a personal best of 1:58.42 in third as the top five all ran SBs in this non-DL event.

Pacemaker Chrishuna Williams was tasked with running 56.5 for the first lap — already too fast — and went out even quicker than that, coming through in 56.12. Wilson led the racers 10 meters behind in a still-quick 57.6 as the field began to string out behind her.

She and Goule began to separate on the back straight; Muir, noticing this, began to move up from her fifth with 300 to go into third with 200 to go, but she couldn’t close the gap to the top two, who hit 600 in 1:27.37.

Coming off the final turn, the outcome remained very much in doubt. Goule had been on Wilson’s shoulder throughout the final turn, threatening to pass, but Wilson fought her off at every opportunity and still held the lead with 100 to go. Goule gave it her all, trying to edge ahead, but Wilson would not relent and held on for the narrow win.

800 Metres – Women – Promotional Event
1 Wilson , Ajee USA 1:57.73
2 Goule , Natoya JAM 1:57.90
3 Muir , Laura GBR 1:58.42
4 Sharp , Lynsey GBR 1:58.76
5 Nakaayi , Halimah UGA 1:59.57
6 Rogers , Raevyn USA 2:00.16
7 Wang , Chunyu CHN 2:01.31
8 Hailu , Freweyni ETH 2:02.36
9 Jepkosgei , Nelly KEN 2:04.85
Williams , Chrishuna USA DNF

Quick Take: For a race without Semenya in it, this was very fast

One of the major effects Semenya has had on the event since her resurgence in 2016 is that almost every race on the DL circuit with her in it is fast. And her absence in 2019 has shown: in the two Diamond Leagues she missed, in Stockholm and Rabat, the winning times were 2:00 and 1:59.

Wilson may never be able to run 1:55 again without Semenya to tow her along, but she showed today that she can still get after it. Since the start of 2017, this was the third-fastest time by anyone in a race without Semenya or Francine Niyonsaba. Wilson owns the other two, 1:57.52 at NACACs last year and 1:57.72 in Zagreb in 2017. 

Quick Take: A great run for Laura Muir; would she consider the 800/1500 double in Doha if the XY DSD athletes are banned?

Muir’s best event is the 1500, but she can more than hold her own at 800 meters as well — her 1:58.42 today puts her #5 on the 2019 world list, and #3 among non-XY DSD athletes. If the Swiss Federal Tribunal upholds the IAAF’s ban on hyperandrogenous athletes at Worlds, Muir would be a medal threat in Doha.

Would she consider the double? The 800 final is on Day 4, and the 1500 prelims don’t start until Day 6, so it’s definitely doable. But considering Muir’s preferred event, the 1500, comes second, and she has yet to earn a global outdoor medal, she may just choose to focus on the 1500 and we wouldn’t blame her.

Men’s Steeple: El Bakkali gets back on track with world leader

3000 Metres Steeplechase Results
1 El Bakkali , Soufiane MAR 8:04.82 8
2 Kigen , Benjamin KEN 8:05.12 7
3 Wale , Getnet ETH 8:05.51 6
4 Carro , Fernando ESP 8:05.69 5
5 Kibiwot , Abraham KEN 8:05.72 4
6 Bor , Hillary USA 8:09.23 3
7 Bedrani , Djilali FRA 8:09.47 2
8 Nigate , Takele ETH 8:09.50 1
9 Bett , Nicholas Kiptanui KEN 8:11.47
10 Chemutai , Albert UGA 8:12.29
11 Bett , Leonard Kipkemoi KEN 8:15.90
12 Hughes , Matthew CAN 8:17.26
13 Kipsang , Lawrence Kemboi KEN 8:19.82
14 Kowal , Yoann FRA 8:26.16
15 Chiappinelli , Yohanes ITA 8:26.93
16 Arce , Daniel ESP 8:34.48
Kipyego , Barnabas KEN DNF
Tindouft , Mohamed MAR DNF

Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali came roaring back in the men’s steeplechase to snag the win in a world-leading 8:04.42 as Kenya’s Benjamin Kigen was second in a pb of 8:05.12 (previous pb of 8:06.13). National records were set in third and fourth as Ethiopia’s Getnet Wale, who came in as the world leader at 8:06.01, lowered his NR to 8:05.51. Spain’s Fernando Carro, the 2018 European silver medallist, ran a massive 10+ second pb of 8:05.69 (previous pb of 8:15.73) to grab fourth, breaking Luis Miguel Martín’s 8:07.44 NR, which had stood since 2002.

US leader Hillary Bor was actually ahead of El Bakkali and Carro entering the final water jump, but he had nothing left and ended up sixth in 8:09.23, just off of his 8:08.41 sb.

The race

The first km was quick (2:37.74) but the second one was not (2:47.07, 5:24.84 at 2k), but a fast time was still possible if things didn’t dawdle at the beginning of the final 1km. They did not as the pace dropped from 67.4 to 66.4 (leader to leader). 

Heading into the bell, however, there were still six people in the lead pack. Heading into the final 200, those six men all still had a shot. Heading into the final water jump, El Bakkali was still only 5th and was 1.5 seconds off of Kigen’s lead, but he was starting to move up. Even heading into the last barrier, El Bakkali was still a second down and in just 4th, but he had all of the momentum and Kigen was totally spent. El Bakkali closed his last lap in 60.6 for the win.

Quick Take: El Bakkali often looks like he’s out of it until he turns on the jets

El Bakkali winning this race should have been far from a surprise. Given the fact that there was a clear top three in the world in recent years in El Bakkali, Conseslus Kipruto, and Evan Jager and that the other two have yet to run a track race this year, he would be expected to dominate the event. But while El Bakkali won in Doha in 8:07 in early May, he bombed in Rabat last month (11th, 8:27). However, when he’s on, his close is very good. Tonight, until he approached the final water jump, it wasn’t clear what El Bakkali we were going to get, but he came on with a vengeance.


Men’s 100: Justin Gatlin holds off Noah Lyles in 9.91

On paper, this race looked to be one of the races of the meet with a red-hot Noah Lyles facing reigning world champ Gatlin and NCAA champ Divine Oduduru. But in the end, the matchup fizzled as Lyles never truly got going and the ageless Justin Gatlin earned a narrow win, 9.91 to Lyles’ 9.92.

They were the only two men to break 10 seconds on the night as Oduduru, perhaps cooked from a long NCAA season, finished last in his professional debut in 10.26.

100 Metres – Men – Diamond Discipline Wind: +0.3 m/s Pts
1 Gatlin , Justin USA 9.91 8
2 Lyles , Noah USA 9.92 7
3 Rodgers , Michael USA 10.01 6
4 Simbine , Akani RSA 10.04 5
5 Gillespie , Cravon USA 10.14 4
6 Vicaut , Jimmy FRA 10.17 3
7 Cissé , Arthur CIV 10.25 2
8 Oduduru , Divine NGR 10.26 1

Quick Take: Don’t expect to see Lyles in the 100 in Des Moines or Doha

Lyles said yesterday that he’d only attempt the 100 and 200 at USAs/Worlds this year if he was confident he could win both, and today’s race showed he still has some work to do over the shorter distance. Lyles has been brilliant and staggeringly consistent in the 200 as a professional, and while he’s done some big things in the 100 — winning USAs last year and running 9.86 in Shanghai this year — he would not be favored for gold in that event this year.

In order for him and coach Lance Brauman to consider the double in 2019, Lyles needed to win and run fast in Monaco today and he did neither. Those waiting for a Lyles 100/200 double will have to wait until 2020 at the earliest.

Men’s 400: Jonathan Jones runs FULL 400m after Kahmari Montgomery false starts, Steven Gardiner wins

The results show Steven Gardiner won this race with ease in 44.51 over hurdler Abderrahman Samba in 45.00, but that misses the real story. Only five men finished this race.

400 Metres – Men – Time – Pts
1 Gardiner , Steven BAH 44.51 8
2 Samba , Abderrahman QAT 45.00 7
3 Strother , Nathan USA 45.54 6
4 Janežic , Luka SLO 45.76 5
5 Montgomery , Kahmari USA 46.02 4
6 Re , Davide ITA 46.21 3
Jones , Jonathan BAR DNS
Zambrano , Anthony José COL DNS

When the gun first went off, 2019 NCAA 400 champ Khamari Montgomery had clearly false started. The starting system chimed to signal a false start, the problem was the three runners in the outside lanes — Davide Re of Italy, Jonathan Jones of Barbados (NCAA freshman who was 4th at NCAAs for Texas), and Anthony Jose Zambrano of Colombia — kept running.

Re in lane 6 stopped running halfway down the backstretch but Jones and Zambrano were on the outside of him and had no idea and they kept running. At some point, Zambrano stopped running, but Jones in lane 7 figured he was winning the race and kept running all the way to the line. Since the race wasn’t shown on TV after the false start, we couldn’t officially time him, but unofficially we had in something close to 44.9, which means he would have been competitive for 2nd or 3rd in the real race.

Fans in the stadium (but not on TV) got to see this:

Konrad Surkont was in Monaco for LetsRun and spoke to Jones after the race. Jones said he never heard the race called back and saw Zambrano running next to him the first 250m meters.  Jones said his coach timed him in 44.6 which was his second fastest ever which was some consolation. Jones’ final race of the season will be the Pan Am Games.

When the runners lined up to start again, there was no way Jones and Zambrano could run, so they exited the track. Re gave it a go despite running 150 meters just a few seconds before and ran a respectable 46.21. Montgomery was allowed to run the race, clocking 46.02 for 5th, but was later (correctly) DQ’d for his false start.

QT: This was Gardiner’s first DL run of the year, but he is undefeated in all comps in 2019. Since the start of 2017, he has only lost one 400 in which he finished the race — the 2017 World Championship final, where he was second behind world record holder Wayde van Niekerk.

MB: Let’s talk about the Men’s 400m in Monaco.

Women’s 200: Shaunae Miller-Uibo wins; no one breaks 22.00

Shaunae Miller-Uibo had a slight lead coming off the turn and she extended it over the final 50 to get the win in 22.09, taking down the reigning Olympic and world champions in the process, who were second (Elaine Thompson 22.44) and third (Dafne Schippers 22.45), respectively. Gabby Thomas, the NCAA indoor record holder at 200, continued to struggle to regain the form of last year as she was last in 22.99.

200 Metres - Women  - Diamond Discipline               Wind: +0.1 m/s
    1 Miller-Uibo , Shaunae            BAH      22.09          8
    2 Thompson , Elaine                JAM      22.44          7
    3 Schippers , Dafne                NED      22.45          6
    4 Daniels , Teahna                 USA      22.59          5
    5 Prandini , Jenna                 USA      22.66          4
    6 Ta Lou , Marie-Josée             CIV      22.66          3
    7 Thomas , Gabrielle               USA      22.99          2

Quick Take: It’s a shame that 200-400 double isn’t possible for women this year as Miller-Uibo needs to be highlighted as a star.

She hasn’t lost a race at any distance since August 20, 2017. Very impressive.

Women’s 100 hurdles: Keni Harrison maintains her perfect record in 2019

Harrison had appeared in just one Diamond League hurdles in 2019 race prior to today, but she’s still been in fine form as she entered having won all six of her races this season. Harrison kept that win streak alive in Monaco, taking control over the final four hurdles to win in 12.43, a season’s best and her fastest time since July 2018.

2015 world champ Danielle Williams was second as NCAA champion/world leader Janeek Brown, now competing for PUMA, could only manage 12.71 for 4th.

100 Metres Hurdles - Women  - Diamond Discipline       Wind: +0.1 m/s
    1 Harrison , Kendra                USA      12.43          8
    2 Williams , Danielle              JAM      12.52          7
    3 Clemons , Christina              USA      12.62          6
    4 Brown , Janeek                   JAM      12.71          5
    5 Ali , Nia                        USA      12.80          4
    6 Koleczek , Karolina              POL      12.93          3
    7 Nelvis , Sharika                 USA      12.98          2
      Seymour , Pedrya                 BAH         DQ

Women’s 400 Hurdles: McLaughlin gets world lead

Sydney McLaughlin got the Diamond League track action underway with a dominant world-leading win in the 400 hurdles in 53.32. It was the fifth sub-54 clocking of McLaughlin’s life and her second straight (her pb is 52.75).

American Ashley Spencer, the 2012 and 2013 NCAA champ in the flat 400, won a crowded battle for runner-up honors as she clocked 54.47, just ahead of 2013 and 2015 world champ Zuzana Hejnova. Reigning world champ Kori Carter of the US continued to struggle as she failed to break 55 yet again, running 55.63 for 7th.

400 Metres Hurdles – Women – Time-Pts
1 McLaughlin , Sydney USA 53.32 8
2 Spencer , Ashley USA 54.46 7
3 Hejnová , Zuzana CZE 54.55 6
4 Russell , Janieve JAM 54.70 5
5 Clayton , Rushell JAM 54.82 4
6 Sprunger , Léa SUI 55.60 3
7 Carter , Kori USA 55.63 2
8 Ryzhykova , Anna UKR 55.65 1

Quick Take: You gotta feel for whichever woman finishes 4th at USAs

While the big story here was how good McLaughlin looked, the reality is America is incredible at this event with 4 of the top 5 women in the world. The problem is that while the US will send four to Worlds, one of them will be defending champ Carter — who isn’t running great — so one of the five fastest women in the world won’t be at Worlds. Perhaps USATF should change its rules so it’s possible to send the DL champ, not the world champ, as the 4th person.

400m Hurdles World Top 5 for 2019

  1. 53.32 Sydney McLaughlin USA
  2. 53.61 Dalilah Muhammad USA
  3. 53.73 Shamier Little USA
  4. 54.11 Zuzana Hejnová CZR
  5. 5. 54.46 Ashley Spencer USA

Field Events

Men’s Pole Vault: Piotr Lisek stays hot

Last week, Piotr Lisek moved into a five-way tie for 10th all-time outdoors at 6.01m and tonight he proved that wasn’t a fluke as he cleared 6.02 without any misses to move into sole possession of 10th all-time outdoors and win a fantastic men’s pole vault where seven men jumped 5.82 or higher.

Mondo Duplantis was the runner-up at 5.92, the same height also cleared by Olympic champ Thiago Braz, who hadn’t been that high since he won the Olympics at 6.03m.

Pole Vault – Men – Diamond Discipline Pts
1 Lisek , Piotr POL 6.02 8
2 Duplantis , Armand SWE 5.92 7
3 Braz , Thiago BRA 5.92 6
4 Wojciechowski , Pawel POL 5.87 5
5 Kendricks , Sam USA 5.82 4
5 Lavillenie , Renaud FRA 5.82 4
7 Lavillenie , Valentin FRA 5.82 2
8 Sene , Alioune FRA 5.72 1
9 Walsh , Cole USA 5.72
10 Yamamoto , Seito JPN 5.62
Holzdeppe , Raphael GER NM

Women’s High Jump: Mariya Lasitskene wins, clears 2.00 meters again

Lasitskene’s mastery of the high jump continued as she earned her fifth Diamond League victory of 2019 — and her 15th straight win in all competitions. She was perfect through 2.00 meters — no one else cleared better than 1.94 — and though she missed all three attempts at 2.04m, she has now cleared 2.00 in her last six competitions. For perspective, the rest of the world has combined for a total of five 2.00+ clearances during the 2019 outdoor season.      

High Jump – Women – Diamond Discipline Pts
1 Lasitskene , Mariya ANA 2.00 8
2 Demireva , Mirela BUL 1.94 7
3 McDermott , Nicola AUS 1.94 6
4 Šimic , Ana CRO 1.90 5
4 Spencer , Levern LCA 1.90 5
6 Licwinko , Kamila POL 1.90 3
7 Kinsey , Erika SWE 1.85 2
7 Murillo , María Fernanda COL 1.85 2

Men’s Triple Jump: Christian Taylor prevails in terrific duel with Will Claye

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Claye has the longest jump in the world this year at 18.14 meters, and while he jumped well today, getting out to 17.75 meters (he had another jump of 17.73), it was not enough for victory as his former University of Florida teammate Taylor took the win at 17.82, his best wind-legal jump since May 2017.

Claye may have two Olympic silver medals, but there is a reason why Taylor has two golds and is the best triple jumper of his generation: time after time, he is able to rise to the challenge in the biggest competitions. Taylor did that again today in Monaco.

Triple Jump – Men – Diamond Discipline Pts Wind
1 Taylor , Christian USA 17.82 8 +0.2
2 Claye , Will USA 17.75 7 -0.3
3 Pichardo , Pedro Pablo POR 17.38 6 +0.1
4 Zango , Hugues Fabrice BUR 17.33 5 +0.2
5 Évora , Nelson POR 17.13 4 +0.4
6 Scott , Donald USA 17.03 3 -0.4
7 dos Santos , Almir BRA 16.76 2 +0.1
8 Collie-Minns , Latario BAH 16.15 1 +0.1

Men’s Javelin: Andreas Hofmann wins

Hofmann, the 2018 Diamond League champ, picked up his first DL win of 2019 by throwing 87.84 meters in round 3, just ahead of 2019 world leader Magnus Kirt of Estonia (87.47).

Javelin Throw - Men  - Diamond Discipline
    1 Hofmann , Andreas                GER      87.84          8
    2 Kirt , Magnus                    EST      87.47          7
    3 Röhler , Thomas                  GER      86.04          6
    4 Cheng , Chao-Tsun                TPE      82.29          5
    5 Krukowski , Marcin               POL      82.16          4
    6 Vadlejch , Jakub                 CZE      81.00          3
    7 Kuusela , Toni                   FIN      74.32          2
    8 Mayer , Kevin                    FRA      67.52          1
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