Can’t miss highlights of this Friday’s Herculis athletics meeting

Herculis at the Stade Louis II

On Friday 21st July, no fewer than 21 World and Olympic champions will be present in Monaco at the Stade Louis II for the Herculis International Athletics Meeting. Here are the highlights you won’t want to miss.

18:40hrs – W Long Jump: An explosive competition

The long jump event will be reminiscent of a final with the very best the discipline has to offer. One side of the line-up will comprise experienced athletes in the person of Malaika Mihambo, World and Olympic champion, Ivana Vuleta, World indoor champion and Jazmin Sawyers, European Indoor champion. The other will feature the ambitious new generation led by Ackelia Smith, who has been dominating the jumping pit this season (7m08, +1.9). Alongside her will be the sensation that is Hilary Kpatcha, who’s proven she’s a force to be reckoned with this summer with 6m86, and Italian Larissa Iapichino, who bagged European Indoor silver this winter and has cleared 6m83 this season.

19:10hrs – M Pole vault: Duplantis of course

Every one of his performances comes under intense scrutiny so all eyes are bound to be on him. Mondo Duplantis will be the real star of the pole vault competition in Monaco. The world record holder soars above his rivals season after season and has already jumped 6m12 this year. Accompanying him will be all the big names: Ernest Obiena, a newcomer to the 6m club, Kurtis Marschall (5m95) and Christopher Nilsen (5m92)… KC Lightfoot, US record holder (6m07) will also be worth watching, with Sam Kendricks (5m91), who will be keen to put the disappointment of the Trials behind him. Thibaut Collet and Renaud Lavillenie will be representing France so they will naturally be keen to rank highly. With these world final vibes, surely the meeting record will be smashed…

19:15hrs – M Javelin: Vadlejch, to drive the point home 

In the javelin, summer leader Jakub Vadlejch will be the favourite. Indeed, the Czech has thrown 89m51 this season. To push him to his limits, he can count on Belgian Timothy Herman, who’s secured a personal best this year (87m35), 2022 European Champion Julian Weber and double world champion Anderson Peters, who will be chasing down a top performance in the run-up to Budapest.

19:58hrs – W High Jump: Final vibes 

Monaco’s jumping pit will be worthy of a world final with the likes of Ukrainian Yaroslava Mahuchikh (2m01 this season), Nicola Olyslagers (2m02) and Iryna Gerashchenko (2m00) currently a cut above the rest. Behind them, a slew of athletes are hoping to join the fray: Morgan Lake and Angelina Topić (both have jumped 1m97) and also Eleanor Patterson, the reigning world champion, who’s yet to jump this season. Of note too is the presence of Nafissatou Thiam, a formidable opponent, focused on honing her skills for Budapest (2m02 her personal best).

20:04hrs – M 400m hurdles: The shock

The 400m hurdles will doubtless be one of the most eagerly awaited races of the night. The focus will be on Karsten Warholm, who is dominating the field with a comeback performance of 46”42, trouncing his closest rival by over a second. What is more, he’ll have some stiff competition to drive him on, with world champion Alison Dos Santos, Olympic silver medallist Rai Benjamin, who ran 46”62 in the Trials, plus compatriot CJ Allen, who’s posting a consistent performance this season. Running for the Blues, all hopes will be on Wilfried Happio, European number two last year, whose season’s best is 48”13.

20:15hrs – W 400m: McLaughlin for the win

Victory seems like a given for Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, who has controlled the world 400m this season. Vying for glory behind her will likely be Britton Wilson and Rhasidat Adeleke, respectively third and fourth in the global ranking (49”13 compared with 49”20). However, it’ll be important to keep an eye on the Pole Natalia Kaczmarek, reigning European number two and Kenyan Mary Moraa, bronze medallist in last year’s 800m in Eugene. Also of note is the presence of hurdles specialist Shamier Little, who’s been successfully working on her speed (50”61 this year).

20:25hrs – M 800m: Eugene, the revenge match

At the start of the 800m will be the three medallists in Eugene, each of them gearing up for a revenge match. Emmanuel Kipkurui Koriris the man to beat and he performs brilliantly at championships. Hot on his heels, Djamel Sedjati (1’43”40) and Marco Arop (1’43”30) have already gone fast this season. There are more stellar performers in the race too: Emmanuel Wanyonyi, season leader with 1’43”27, Slimane Moula, fourth in the ranking with 1’43”38, Frenchman Benjamin Robert (1’43”48) in tip-top condition and Wyclife Kinyamal (1’43”56). Boasting 6 of the season’s top performers… this race is not to be missed!

20:35hrs – W Mile: Kipyegon the rocket

Faith Kipyegon is on home soil in Monaco. Last year, she missed out on the world 1,500m record by three tenths of a second, the entire stadium behind her. Since then, she’s shifted things up another gear to secure the world record in the 1,500m and 5,000m. This year, the Kenyan is returning to the mile, a distance which saw a new world record being set in Monaco in 2019 (4’12”33). Up against her is a strong armada: Briton Laura Muir, Olympic silver medallist in the 1,500m, Freweyni Hailu, fourth at the last worlds over 1,500m and Konstanze Klosterhalfen, European 5,000m champion.

20:40hrs – M Triple jump: The movers and shakers

The jumping pit will be the theatre for a top-ranking triple jump competition. Hitting the runway will be Portuguese athlete Pedro Pichardo, who has already won it all with a jump of 17m91 albeit in slightly too much breeze. He’ll have to watch out for Andy Díaz, who landed 17m75 this year in Doha (17m80 too windy). Also vying for the podium will be Jamaican Jaydon Hibbert (17m87, +1.3) who has excelled in the summer competitions. Note the presence of Christian Taylor who has held the meeting record since 2019 (17m82, +0.2).

20:50hrs – W 100m hurdles: Camacho-Quinn vs Harrison 

The 100m hurdles will be an opportunity to see the world’s best duo facing off. On the one side, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, reigning Olympic champion, who is leading the way this year (12”31). On the other, Kendra Harrison, Olympic silver medallist and former world record holder in the sport (12”35 this year).

21:00hrs – M 5,000m: Battle of the best 

The 5,000m will be reminscent of a dress rehearsal with four of the top ten performers of all time on the start line. It’ll be a tough battle for the world record holder over the distance, Berihu Aregawi with 12’40”45 and Jacob Kiplimo, who ran 12’41”73 in Oslo. Jacob Krop will also be one to watch after running the ninth fastest in the event’s history and Spaniard Mo Katir, who has posted 12’52”09 this year. Hot on their heels will be Frenchmen Jimmy Gressier (13’08”75) and Yann Schrub, bronze 10,000m medallist in Munich, with a new personal best of 13’11”44 this season.

21:20hrs – W 200m: Jackson leaves his rivals standing

The 200m promises to be explosive. In the starting blocks will be reigning world champion Shericka Jackson, who continues to take the world by storm. The Jamaican boasts a world leading performance over 100 m (10”65, +1.0), with the fifth fastest performance of all time and a new personal best set in Monaco last year. However, she will have to outpace Gabrielle Thomas, who cut an impressive dash by running 21”60 (-0.4) at the Trials. Also vying for the top spots will be Julien Alfred (21”91), American Abby Steiner (22”07), as well as English sprinters Dina Asher-Smith, bronze medallist in Eugene and Daryll Neita, who has just improved on her personal best (22”23).

21:30hrs – M 3,000m steeplechase: El Bakkali hoping to confirm 

Soufiane El Bakkali has enjoyed an excellent start to the season by winning the meeting in Rabat, on home soil, resulting in a new national record (7’56”68). In Monaco, the World champion will want to continue onwards and upwards and score some extra points in his remote duel with Lamecha Girma, the recent world record holder… Pitted against him will be, Abraham Kibiwot and Getnet Wale, third and fourth in the 2023 ranking.

21:52hrs – M 100m: Omanyala vs Blake

The 100m will likely round off the show in style with a fierce duel between Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala and Jamaican Ackeem Blake. The former is the African record holder with 9’’77, the second is continuing to up the ante, posting a time of 9”89 (+1.0) this season. Akani Simbine always knows how to bring his A game too. Finally, Letsile Tebogo, world junior record holder (9’’91 in 2022) will be eager to prove himself among the 100m elite.


By Monaco Life with press release. Photo source: Herculis