The first Diamond League event of 2020 is shaping up to be a thriller, with stars from around the world signing up to compete.
Olympic 3,000 steeplechase gold medallist Conseslus Kipruto has confirmed he will kick-start his season at the 14 August Diamond League meet in Monaco. The Kenyan athlete joins a stellar lineup including United States 200m world champion Noah Lyles and 5,000 metre world record holders Joshua Cheptegei and Sifan Hassan in the first Diamond League event since COVID-19 bought athletics to a standstill earlier this year.
Speaking from his hometown of Eldoret in Kenya, Kipruto announced his intentions to compete to Xinhua, saying: "I am ready. Monaco here I come. It will be fire on August 14."
Kipruto wrote his name in the Olympic history books as a 21-year-old at Rio 2016, winning the 3,000 metre steeplechase gold in an Olympic record time of 8 minutes 3.28 seconds. He has since continued with his exceptional form by winning gold in both the 2017 and 2019 world championships.
The Monaco meet, also known as the Herculis EBS Meeting, will represent the first time many of the athletes involved have competed against each other in months, and if the lineup is anything to go by, it will be an unmissable event.
Some of the other big names who have confirmed their participation include world 800m champion Halimah Nakaayi and pole vault world record holder Armand "Mondo" Duplantis, who broke the world best mark twice in February of this year. Great Britain's representatives will include 2019 world heptathlon gold medallist Katarina Johnson-Thompson who will compete in the high jump, and European 1,500m champion Laura Muir who will contest the 1,000m event.
2019 Getty Images
One of the most anticipated races in Monaco will be the men's 1,500, where the world champion Timothy Cheruiyot will face-up against European champ Jakob Ingebrigtsen. Despite a lack of training opportunities in his native Kenya, Cheruiyot has vowed to be at his "full potential, capable of wresting the title in Monaco." And payback for a recent loss against Ingebrigtsen in the virtual race they competed during the Impossible Games is definitely on the Kenyan's agenda.
"Revenge against the Ingebrigtsen will be nice but anything can happen in the first race of the season. It is open to everyone," he said.
The return of the Diamond League represents a unique opportunity for many athletes to test themselves in competitive action in the build-up to next year's Tokyo 2020 Games. Following the 14 August event in Monaco, further meets have been planned including those in Stockholm on 23 August, Brussels on 4 September, Shanghai on 19 September and Doha on 9 October 2020.