Fireworks are expected tonight when Margaret Nyairera takes on 800m aces Caster Semenya and Francine Niyonsaba at the ninth Diamond League stop in Monaco. Nyairera stormed to victory in Kenya’s Olympic trials early this month in her season’s and personal best time of 1:57.52, sending a stern warning to the all-conquering South African.
Having posted the third fastest time this year at high altitude Eldoret and in her first competitive appearance, the 20-year-old is primed for greater achievement starting with the Monaco duel. “I will just go out there and beat them.
I’ve been training very hard and it’s my prayer that I win every other race including Olympic gold,” said Nyairera. Semenya, the all-powerful South African has bettered her personal best time with succeeding races and holds the fastest time this year of 1:56.64 while Burundian Niyonsaba who has played second fiddle to the former holds the second fastest time of the year (1:56.92).
Former world champion Eunice Sum is also in the race. The men’s 1,500m race will potentially be explosive as world champions Asbel Kiprop and Mo Farah face off.
Kiprop, a specialist in the mile race will lead other Olympics-bound Kenyans, Elijah Manang’oi and Ronald Kwemoi into the race that also has Moroccan Abdelaati Iguder and veteran Taoufik Makhloufi.
Kiprop is finalising preparations as he seeks a first Olympics gold while Farah, a specialist in the longer races (5,000m and 10,000m) is sharpening his finishing kick that has always made the difference for him in big races.
Olympics-bound Conseslus Kipruto is favourite to win in Monaco and extend his Diamond race lead when he faces five other Kenyans and John Koech, a Qatari-born Kenyan in the 3,000m steeplechase.
The youngster has been in sizzling from this year and is expected to end Ezekiel Kembois’ championship dominance in Rio when they clash at the 31st Olympic Games.
Mercy Cherono and Helen Obiri will renew rivalry in the women’s flat 3,000m race while shock winner of the 800m race at the Kenyan trials Alfred Kipketer will measure his mettle against big wigs Nijel Amos and Adam Kszczot.