Rose Mary Almanza of Cuba in the Diamond League
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The women’s and men’s 800m at Friday’s (9) Herculis EBS Wanda Diamond League meeting in Monaco will feature several athletes who are expected to battle for Olympic medals in Tokyo, later this summer and I believe they will all want to lay down a mark to build confidence as they fine-tuned their final preparations for the Games.

Friday’s meeting in Monaco is the sixth stop on the 2021 Wanda Diamond League Tour and like the previous five outings, fans should expect high-quality performances from some of the world’s best athletes.

Among the leading events slated to provide some of the highlights at the meeting are the women’s and men’s 800m races.

Almanza vs Goule Again

On the women’s side, Cuban Rose Mary Almanza will lead the way and will come up against four other runners who are listed among the top seven performers this season. Almanza was successful in her last outing in Stockholm, when she got the better of a very strong field to set a personal best of 1:56.28 on her way to winning the event.

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It was the second time this season the Pan American Games silver medalist was dipping under the 1:57 barrier, following her then-personal best performance of 1:56.42 at the Meeting Jose Antonio Pena, Ordizia, Spain on June 19.

Back to challenge Almanza in Monaco is Jamaica’s Natasha Goule, who pushed her Caribbean rival all the way to the finish line to set a season’s best mark of 1:56.44. Goule was delighted with her performance, but the Pan American Games will be aiming to get even closer to her lifetime best of 1:56.15 as she seeks to be in the best form for Tokyo.

Reigning world champion Halimah Nakaayi of Uganda is slowly returning to form this season and will be hoping to build on her 1:58.70 season’s best performance when finishing second at the Bislett Games Diamond League event in Oslo, earlier this month.

READ MORE: Shamier Little and Femke Bol set for another clash in Gateshead

Also set to feature in the women’s event are American Kate Grace, Briton’s Laura Muir, and Ethiopia Habitam Alemu.

Amos Looking To Lay Down A Mark?

The men’s 800m, meanwhile, will see Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos of Botswana racing in the event for only the second time this season after running 1:45.26 in his first appearance over the distance this season.

Amos will take on four men who have posted 1:44 or better this year.

Leading the way is world bronze medalist Ferguson Rotich of Kenya who clocked 1:43.84 for a season-best when winning in Stockholm. U.S. Olympic Trials winner and Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy, heads into the clash as the world leader with 1:43.17, while Patryk Dobek of Poland (1:43.73) and Canada’s Marco Arop (1:44.00) will also face the starter.

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