In the past six years, the Diamond League meet in Monaco has been generous to Canadian middle-distance runners, with three Canadian records being set at the historic Stade Louis II track from the 800m to 1,500m. On Friday afternoon, Edmonton’s Marco Arop will attempt to make it four in the men’s 800m.
There has been a lot more pressure for Arop this season after landing on the podium and winning bronze at last year’s world championships. Arop has not hidden from the limelight, and has been dominant in three of his four races this season. He comes into Monaco as the favourite, being the top-ranked 800m runner in the world.
Arop felt his medal at the 2022 world championships was a breakthrough. “Now that I’ve done something, I know I can do it again,” he says. “I am already looking forward to bigger and better in Budapest.”
In the past two years, Arop has been extremely close to breaking his former teammate Brandon McBride’s Canadian record of 1:43.20 from the 2018 Monaco Diamond League meet. In his last Diamond League appearance in Paris, Arop ran the second-fastest time of his career in 1:43.30, only four one-hundredths of a second off his personal best of 1:43.26 from the 2021 Monaco Diamond League. If you see a common theme here, the world’s top athletes come to Monaco to run fast and make a statement.
As we are now less than a month away from the 2023 World Championships in Budapest, Friday’s meet holds a lot of significance, especially in the men’s 800m. Six of the eight 800m finalists at last year’s world championships are in the field, and whoever comes out on top is destined to be the favorite for a spot on the podium in Budapest.
Marco Arop captures bronze in the men’s 800m
Although the Monaco field is missing defending world and Olympic 800m champion Emmanuel Korir of Kenya, the Algerian duo of Slimane Moula and the reigning world 800m silver medalist, Djamel Sedjati, are bound to challenge Arop for the win.
The men’s 800m at the Monaco Diamond League will begin at 2:25 pm ET and can be streamed online on CBC Sports and CBC Gem.
Moh Ahmed eyes Olympic standard at 5,000m
Arop is not the only Canadian athlete competing in Monaco; Olympic 5,000m silver medalist Moh Ahmed will make his second Diamond League appearance of the season in the men’s 5,000m against a stacked field.
Having raced only twice outdoors in 2023, Ahmed will be up against some of the top all-time performers in the discipline. Among the competitors will be Ethiopia’s Berihu Aregawithe 5K world record holder, and Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimowho ran 12:41.73 in mid-June at the Oslo Diamond League in a photo finish, so the race will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the meet.
Ahmed has already achieved the world championship standard of 13:07, with a 12:56.46 clocking at Florence Diamond League in May, and has already been named to the world’s team in the men’s 10,000m. Since the 2024 Paris Olympic qualification window opened on July 1, Ahmed will likely be looking to nab a time of 13:05 or faster to solidify his position for him on next year’s team before his final preparations for the World Athletics Championships next month.
The men’s 5,000m at the Monaco Diamond League will begin at 3:00 pm ET and can be streamed online on CBC Sports and CBC Gem.