Busy James-King lines up against Olympic medal favourites

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WITH JUST around three weeks to go before the Olympic Games, several of the main medal contenders will clash at the Monaco Diamond League Meeting Herculis, the penultimate meet of the series before the showpiece event.

National 400-metre hurdles champion Malik James-King will line up with the three Olympic Games medal favourites in an event that includes the top five- ranked athletes this season.

Ranked fifth in the world with 47.42 seconds, the Jamaican will be hoping for a special performance following his third-place finish a few days ago at the Paris Diamond League.

It will be the first meeting of all three medal contenders this season – Budapest World Athletics Championships bronze medallist, Rai Benjamin of the United States, with a season best 46.46 will lead the pack.

RANKING

Alison Dos Santos of Brazil, who won in Paris a few days ago, is ranked second with 46.63, while world record holder and World Championships and Olympic Games champion, Karsten Warholm of Norway, is third ranked with a season’s best 46.70.

Also in the line-up are fourth-ranked Caleb Alden of the United States with a best of 47.23, and his countryman, CJ Allen, who was second at the United States Trials with 47.81.

Jamaica’s Hansle Parchment will clash with the United States’ Grant Holloway in the men’s 110-metre hurdles. Holloway, the world champion, is the fastest on the planet this season with a best of 12.86 seconds. Parchment is a real threat, despite his modest season’s best of 13.19.

The usually slow-starting Parchment will be hoping to replicate the first few steps of his National Championships race to put early pressure on Holloway, who is normally out quickly.

Shunsuke Izumiya of Japan with a season’s best 13.16, Sasha Zhoya of France with 13.15, and Cordell Tinch of the United States, with a best of 13.03, should make this an interesting affair.

UPSET WIN

Following his upset win at the national championships, Deandre Watkin will make his first Diamond League appearance when he competes in the men’s 400 metres.

With a personal best of 44.48 seconds, Watkin will battle world leader Christopher Morales-Williams of Canada, whose best is 44.05, Bayapo Ndori of Botswana, 44.10, Quincy Hall of the United States, 44.17, and Michael Norman, with a best of 44.21.

National triple jump champion Shanieka Ricketts will be the lone Jamaican woman at the meet. She will be hoping for a big performance following a lukewarm season with a best of 14.58 metres. That season’s best puts her at number seven in the triple jump.

With the outstanding Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela out of the Olympics, the triple jump is a wide-open affair for the gold medal in the event.

Ricketts will face some of her main rivals for that gold medal in Thea LaFond of Dominica, the World Indoor champion, who leaped out to 15.01 for that title, the Cuban duo of Leyanis Perez Hernandez, with a season’s best of 14.90, and Liadagmis Povea, 14.73. European champion, Ana Peleteiro-Compaoré of Spain with a best of 14.85, is also down to face the sandpit.

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