2021 Monaco Men’s Recap: Timothy Cheruiyot Wins (Again) in 3:28 PB, Nijel Amos Is Back, & Chaos in the Steeple After Bell Is Rung a Lap Early

By LetsRun.com
July 9, 2021

As usual, tonight’s Monaco Diamond League produced two incredibly exciting hours of track & field — mostly for the incredible times and once, notably, for a colossal officiating gaffe. All three distance events produced world-leading marks: an impressive 3:28.28 for Timothy Cheruiyot in the 1500, who won his second Diamond League in a week, a resurgent 1:42.91 for Botswana’s Nijel Amos in the 800, and a hectic 8:07.75 for Lamecha Girma in the steeplechase — which he ran despite an official ringing the bell with two laps to go.

In addition to those victories, there were personal bests galore, another win for Karsten Warholm, and an upset in the men’s 100 as Ronnie Baker (9.91) took down previously undefeated Trayvon Bromell, who was only fifth after stumbling early in the race.

Full recap and analysis of all the men’s events in Monaco below. The womens recap is here: 2021 Monaco Women’s Recap: Kipyegon Runs 3:51.07 to Beat Hassan, Coburn Falls in Sub-9:00 Chase & Muir Runs Huge PB (1:56) to Win 800.

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*Full results

Men’s 1500: Farmer Tim wins a fast race with a pb 3:28.28, putting the pressure on Athletics Kenya

The question of whether Timothy Cheruiyot will compete at the Tokyo Olympics remains unanswered, but if he does, there is no question he will be the favorite. Cheruiyot was the class of the field in a characteristically fast Monaco men’s 1500, winning in a personal best and world-leading 3:28.28 and pulling away from Spaniard Mohamed Katir in the final 75 meters. Cheruiyot was only fourth at the Kenyan trials but since then has won two Diamond Leagues in strong fashion and has made a strong case for Athletics Kenya to reverse course and name him to their Olympic team.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen ran 3:29.25 for third but remains winless (0-12) against Cheruiyot in his career, while Stewart McSweyn ran an Oceania-record 3:29.51 to dip under 3:30 for the first time in his career. McSweyn already had the Australian record and this mark betters that and Nick Willis’ former Oceania record.

The race

Pacemakers Erik Sowinski and Timothy Sein took the field out swiftly, going through the first 400 in 54.20 seconds and 800 in 1:50.75. Cheruiyot and McSweyn tucked in behind the pacers with Samuel Tefera in third. Ingebrigtsen ran more evenly, lagging in sixth place among the racers for the first two laps.

Ingebrigtsen moved up to fourth with 600 to go, flanked by Katir, then moved up on the shoulder of Tefera at the bell. Katir made a strong move past Ingebrigtsen with 300 to go, closing the gap up to Cheruiyot and McSweyn. Katir moved past McSweyn on the curve but could not quite draw even with Cheruiyot. Ingebrigtsen passed McSweyn in the final straight but left it too late to catch Katir or Cheruiyot.

Cheruiyot stepped on the gas with 75 to go and ran away from Katir while Ingebrigtsen held off McSweyn for third. Kenyan champ Charles Simotwo and Marcin Lewandowski of Poland closed hard to pass Tefera, with Simotwo getting a pb of 3:30.30 for fifth and Lewandowski getting a national record of 3:30.42 for sixth.

Final

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark
1. Timothy CHERUIYOT 20 NOV 1995 KEN 3:28.28
2. Mohamed KATIR 17 FEB 1998 ESP 3:28.76
3. Jakob INGEBRIGTSEN 19 SEP 2000 NOR 3:29.25
4. Stewart MCSWEYN 01 JUN 1995 AUS 3:29.51
5. Charles Cheboi SIMOTWO 06 MAY 1995 KEN 3:30.30
6. Marcin LEWANDOWSKI 13 JUN 1987 POL 3:30.42
7. Samuel TEFERA 23 OCT 1999 ETH 3:30.71
8. Azeddine HABZ 19 JUL 1993 FRA 3:31.74
9. Melese NBERET 20 JAN 2001 ETH 3:31.82
10. Filip INGEBRIGTSEN 20 APR 1993 NOR 3:32.23
11. Baptiste MISCHLER 23 NOV 1997 FRA 3:32.42
12. Jye EDWARDS 06 MAR 1998 AUS 3:33.23
13. Adam Ali MUSAB 17 APR 1995 QAT 3:35.57
  Erik SOWINSKI 21 DEC 1989 USA DNF
  Timothy SEIN 01 FEB 1988 KEN DNF

Quick Take: Cheruiyot should be in Tokyo

Cheruiyot showed in this race and in Stockholm on Sunday that his fourth-place finish at the Kenyan trials was an anomalous result. It was the only time he has finished worse than second in a 1500 in four years. Not only did he better his all-time #7 mark in the event with his pb today, but he crushed one of the Tokyo medal favorites in Ingebrigtsen and avenged that Kenyan trials defeat by crushing Simotwo. 

Cheruiyot is the reigning world champ and won this race today looking just as good as that 2019 Worlds final, going wire-to-wire and finishing strong. Athletics Kenya would be making a mistake if they did not give him a discretionary spot on their Olympic team, and if they don’t, Cheruiyot must hope Kenyan trials runner-up Kamar Etyang cannot compete because he did not log the requisite number of out-of-competition tests.

Quick Take: This was deep and fast, as usual

In total, the race included 10 personal bests among 13 finishers, plus three national records and world leader. The world indoor record holder in the event (Tefera) was only seventh with a personal best of 3:30.71, while the 2019 world bronze medalist (Lewandowski) was sixth with his personal-best mark. Four men broke 3:30 and seven broke 3:31. The Monaco 1500 magic continues.

Quick Take: Where did Mo Katir come from?

Perhaps the most surprising mark today was the second-place finish and 3:28.76 Spanish record from Moroccan-born Mo Katir. That mark makes him the tenth-fastest performer of all time in the 1500. Katir ran a Spanish record in the 5k (12:50.79) in Florence in June, but before 2021, his World Athletics profile shows PRs of 3:36.59 and 13:50.19 (from 2018) in the 1500 and 5k. The ASICS athlete burst onto the scene this year and will run only the 5,000 in Tokyo, as Spain did not name him to their 1500 team.

Quick Take: Questions about Ingebrigtsen abound

To be fair to Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the guy ran 3:29.25 today, a half-second off his own European record, and he missed several days of training in the past week as a result of the illness that kept him out of the Oslo Diamond League. He still ran very well and rarely has an off day. Our questions are about his closing speed and which event he should run in Tokyo — the 1500 or the 5000. Ingebrigtsen tends to run his 1500s evenly, lagging well behind Cheruiyot over the first two laps and then closing the gap, but the strategy doesn’t seem to work, as he can never seem to get around the Kenyan. Today he never closed the gap, and at Monaco in 2020 Cheruiyot held him off. Will he be able to beat Cheruiyot in a fast race? Is he fast enough to kick hard in a slow race (his 800 pb is 1:46.44, compared to Cheruiyot’s 1:43.11)? Will he medal at all? Should he just run the 5000, in which he won his only race this year in a European-record 12:48.45 in Florence? The men’s 1500 and 5000 overlap in Tokyo, so he likely cannot do both. He finished fourth in the 1500 in 2019 and fifth in the 5k, so the Norwegian super-talent is still seeking that first global medal.

Men’s steeple: Girma runs 8:07 after the bell rings a lap early

Want to make a steeplechase more interesting? Ring the bell a lap early and prepare for chaos.

That’s exactly what happened today in Monaco. With two laps to go, Kenya’s Benjamin Kigen led, followed by 2019 Worlds silver medalist Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia and Kenya’s Abraham Kibiwot. Then an official rang the bell, and while a look at the clock — 5:58.7 — would have told them two laps remained, Kigen launched into his kick, opening up a 15-meter gap only to hear the bell sound again as he approached the finish line.

A look of horrific realization spread across Kigen’s face as he realized he still had a lap to go after just running a 59. After hurdling the first barrier on the actual last lap, Kigen slowed to little more than a jog and was passed by Girma, who had also kicked (not quite as hard) but was not moving particularly fast himself.

Girma was still clear of the field entering the home straight, but Kibiwot found a second wind coming off the final barrier, closing a 10-meter gap to mere inches by the finish line as Girma edged Kibiwott for the win, 8:07.75 to 8:07.81 — the two fastest times of the year. Kigen, totally exhausted, came home in seventh in 8:15.09 thanks to a 77.4 final lap (Girma closed in 68.5, Kibiwot in 66.0).

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark
1. Lamecha GIRMA 26 NOV 2000 ETH 8:07.75
2. Abraham KIBIWOT 06 APR 1996 KEN 8:07.81
3. Djilali BEDRANI 01 OCT 1993 FRA 8:11.17
4. Mehdi BELHADJ 10 JUN 1995 FRA 8:12.43
5. Hillary BOR 22 NOV 1989 USA 8:14.69
6. Ahmed ABDELWAHED 26 MAY 1996 ITA 8:14.86
7. Benjamin KIGEN 05 JUL 1993 KEN 8:15.09
8. Bikila Tadese TAKELE 03 AUG 2002 ETH 8:15.12
9. Benard KETER 25 MAY 1992 USA 8:18.53
10. Alexis PHELUT 03 MAR 1998 FRA 8:20.51
11. Daniel ARCE 22 APR 1992 ESP 8:20.91
12. Mark PEARCE 19 JAN 1996 GBR 8:34.03
  Amos KIRUI 09 FEB 1998 KEN DNF

Quick Take: This was a farce

We’ve all seen races where an athlete miscounts the laps and kicks too early (Hyvin Kiyeng did it in the women’s steeple tonight). But when they do, it’s their own mistake — it doesn’t hurt anyone else in the field. What the finish line official did tonight is totally unacceptable. It made one of the biggest track meets of the year feel like a middle school meet. Yes, it’s ultimately up to the runners to run the correct distance, but distance runners are like Pavlov’s dogs: ring a bell and they will start to kick. The leaders tonight — especially Kigen — got totally screwed over.

Quick Take: The race for Olympic gold remains wide-open

Previous world leader Soufiane El Bakkali didn’t run here, and while he’s probably the slight Olympic favorite, the race tonight showed some of his rivals in Tokyo are quite fit. Despite kicking a lap early, Kigen looked very good (of course, it’s easier to look good when you kick a lap early) and Kibiwot showed impressive fortitude in the home straight to run 8:07 — worth more considering he also got caught up in the kicking. Both those men should contend in Tokyo.

One man who won’t: Girma. Despite taking silver at Worlds in 2019, running 7:27 indoors and running a world-leading 8:07 tonight, he won’t be on the Ethiopian team as he didn’t run the Ethiopian Olympic trials in Hengelo last month. If anyone knows why he missed that race, please let us know.

Quick Take: Hillary Bor misses opportunity

After winning the Olympic Trials last month, Hillary Bor spoke about trying to run 8:05 in Monaco but came up well short of that tonight, running 8:14.69 for 5th (he simply appeared tired at the end of the race rather than being fooled by the bell, as his last three laps were 64.8-67.0-67.7). Two of the guys who beat Bor tonight (Kibiwot and third-placer Djilali Bedrani of France) were guys who he beat convincingly in Gateshead in May. He will need to be much better if he is to challenge for a medal in Tokyo.

Bor’s training parter Benard Keter did manage a pb of 8:18.53 in ninth, but he likely will have wanted to have run faster as well.

Men’s 800: Amos wins with a world leader

With two 1:41 clockings on his CV, Botswana’s Nijel Amos has run two of the 15 fastest 800s in history. He’ll now enter the Olympics as the favorite as in his first appearance on the circuit in 2021, he dug deep and prevailed over a stacked field in Monaco tonight, winning in a world-leading 1:42.91 as former NCAA star Emmanuel Korir was second in 1:43.04 with Marco Arop of Canada, who led until the final 45 meters, third in 1:43.26.

The top three men were the only three brave enough to go with the quick opening pace set by the rabbit (48.96). On the backstretch, Arop kept things hot and he hit 600 leading in 1:15.69. With 50 meters remaining, the top three were three abreast before Amos edged ahead for the win. 

The chase pack included previous world leader Clayton Murphy, who hit 400 in an unofficial 50.8 and 600 in 1:17.5. Coming into the final turn, Murphy was well-positioned to finish as best of the rest as he was running with British champ Elliot Giles but for the second time in four days, he had very little over the final 150 as he had to settle for a 7th-place showing in 1:44.41. Ferguson Rotich earned best of the rest honors in 4th in 1:43.57. American Bryce Hoppel, who was 4th at Worlds in 2019, was surprisingly last in 1:47.74.

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark
1. Nijel AMOS 15 MAR 1994 BOT 1:42.91
2. Emmanuel Kipkurui KORIR 15 JUN 1995 KEN 1:43.04
3. Marco AROP 20 SEP 1998 CAN 1:43.26
4. Ferguson Cheruiyot ROTICH 30 NOV 1989 KEN 1:43.57
5. Elliot GILES 26 MAY 1994 GBR 1:44.07
6. Patryk DOBEK 13 FEB 1994 POL 1:44.28
7. Clayton MURPHY 26 FEB 1995 USA 1:44.41
8. Amel TUKA 09 JAN 1991 BIH 1:44.85
9. Gabriel TUAL 09 APR 1998 FRA 1:45.08
10. Benjamin ROBERT 04 JAN 1998 FRA 1:46.75
11. Bryce HOPPEL 05 SEP 1997 USA 1:47.74
  Patryk SIERADZKI 06 OCT 1998 POL DNF

Quick Take: Amos has to be considered the favorite but…

Nijel Amos has run faster than anyone else in the world that is currently competing in the 800 and he’s run faster than everyone this year as well, so he’s the Olympic favorite. However, his championship record is far from stellar. Yes, he won Olympic silver at age 18 in 2012. But since then he’s come up short of a medal, although he missed Worlds in both 2013 and 2019.

He revealed after today’s race, he had an injury before the Doha DL.

I’ve been working really hard in training, I’ve been doing good stuff, I just haven’t been racing. I had an injury when I was supposed to race Doha, but coming back from injury and running 1:42 today shows that things are going in the right direction towards the Olympics and that’s really where I want to be in a good position.

I just want to get better being comfortable in the race, just don’t panic and be in my own zone. For me it’s always about focusing on myself in the race. I missed the World Championships, last year I was in good shape, so I just want the opportunity to line up in a major championship and hope to do better and get on the podium. I have an Olympic medal already, so I’d definitely love to get something better in Tokyo.

Men’s 100: Baker hands Bromell first defeat of 2021

In a race that contained many of the top contenders for the Olympics, US Olympic Trials runner-up Ronnie Baker handed Trials champion and world leader Trayvon Bromell his first defeat of 2021, clocking 9.91 as Bromell could only manage fifth in 10.01.

Bromell stumbled slightly out of the blocks, and that was the difference here as Baker started well and was in control for the entire race, earning his second DL victory in six days. Akani Simbine of South Africa, who ran an African record of 9.84 in Hungary on Tuesday, was second in 9.98 as American-born Italian Marcell Jacobs took third in 9.99.

Final, Wind: +0.3

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark
1. Ronnie BAKER 15 OCT 1993 USA 9.91
2. Akani SIMBINE 21 SEP 1993 RSA 9.98
3. Lamont Marcell JACOBS 26 SEP 1994 ITA 9.99
4. André DE GRASSE 10 NOV 1994 CAN 10.00
5. Trayvon BROMELL 10 JUL 1995 USA 10.01
6. Fred KERLEY 07 MAY 1995 USA 10.15
7. Filippo TORTU 15 JUN 1998 ITA 10.17
  Jimmy VICAUT 27 FEB 1992 FRA DQ

Quick Take: The 100 just got more interesting

Considering his early stumble, Bromell is still the Olympic favorite in the 100, but this result did at least inject some uncertainty heading into Tokyo. We’ll get a chance to see how he responds quickly as Bromell will run the 100 again in Gateshead on Tuesday (Baker isn’t entered there, though).

Men’s 400m Hurdles: Karsten Warholm breaks meet record in first race since world record

This race was initially billed as a Karsten Warholm-Rai Benjamin showdown and world record attempt. Then, Warholm got what they both wanted eight days ago in Oslo, the world record, as he ran 46.70 to take down Kevin Young’s 46.78 mark from 1992.

Benjamin then pulled out of Monaco to focus on the Olympics and Warholm was left to race Alison dos Santos, the South American record holder who was second in Oslo. Once the gun got off, Warholm did what he does best, getting out hard. He opened up a lead on dos Santos and never gave it up.

The only question was how fast would it be. The answer? 47.08, breaking his meet record of 47.10 from last year. Warholm was significantly slower than his 46.70 world record, but he has reset the bar on what a good time is. Only five men besides himself have ever run faster.

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark
1. Karsten WARHOLM 28 FEB 1996 NOR 47.08
2. Alison DOS SANTOS 03 JUN 2000 BRA 47.51
3. Rasmus MÄGI 04 MAY 1992 EST 48.83
4. Constantin PREIS 16 MAY 1998 GER 49.49
5. Wilfried HAPPIO 22 SEP 1998 FRA 49.66
6. Chris MCALISTER 03 DEC 1995 GBR 49.98
  Aldrich BAILEY JR 06 FEB 1994 USA DNF

Field events

Men’s high jump: Akimenko wins in jump-off

Mikhail Akimenko of Russia, the 2019 Worlds runner-up competing as an Authorized Neutral Athlete, had an identical card to Canada’s Django Lovett as both men were clean through 2.29 meters before missing all three attempts at 2.32. As a result, they went to a jump-off, and on his fourth attempt at 2.32, Akimenko finally made it while Lovett missed, handing Akimenko the win.

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark
1. Mikhail AKIMENKO 06 DEC 1995 ANA 2.32
2. Django LOVETT 06 JUL 1992 CAN 2.29
3. Maksim NEDASEKAU 21 JAN 1998 BLR 2.25
4. Ilya IVANYUK 09 MAR 1993 ANA 2.25
4. Andriy PROTSENKO 20 MAY 1988 UKR 2.25
6. Brandon STARC 24 NOV 1993 AUS 2.21
7. Gianmarco TAMBERI 01 JUN 1992 ITA 2.21
8. Marco FASSINOTTI 29 APR 1989 ITA 2.21

Men’s long jump: Tentoglou wins thanks to Final 3

It was not a great day for long jump marks as the wind was very minimal, but it made for a tight competition. Jamaican Tajay Gayle, the reigning world champion and #10 all-time performer, had the best jump of the day with a seasonal best 8.29 meters, but fouled his jump in the all-important sixth round. Swede Thobias Montler jumped a pb of 8.27 in the second round but also fouled in the sixth round, giving the victory to world leader Miltiadis Tentoglou of Greece, who delivered his best jump of the day in (8.24 meters) in that final round. World all-time #11 performer (8.68 meters) Juan Miguel Echevarría of Cuba, who has also jumped a windy 8.92 in his career, did not jump here despite being on the start list.

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark Wind
1. Miltiadis TENTOGLOU 18 MAR 1998 GRE 8.24 +0.2
2. Tajay GAYLE 02 AUG 1996 JAM 8.29 +0.2
3. Thobias MONTLER 15 FEB 1996 SWE 8.27 +0.4
4. Marquis DENDY 17 NOV 1992 USA 7.99 -0.1
5. Ruswahl SAMAAI 25 SEP 1991 RSA 7.95 -0.1
6. Filippo RANDAZZO 27 APR 1996 ITA 7.92 +0.1
7. Kevin MAYER 10 FEB 1992 FRA 7.35 -0.2

The women’s recap is here: 2021 Monaco Women’s Recap: Kipyegon Runs 3:51.07 to Beat Hassan, Coburn Falls in Sub-9:00 Chase & Muir Runs Huge PB (1:56) to Win 800.

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