• Kenyan Kiprop cruises to 1500m win in impressive time
At last, the stage is set. The Diamond League meeting in Monaco was the last major athletics meeting before the Olympic Games, which meant that every event was replete with implications and ramifications for what will happen in London two weeks from now. For the British team there were a pair of encouraging performances from Robbie Grabarz in the high jump and Holly Bleasdale in the pole vault. In the absence of Usain Bolt, who pulled out to concentrate on fixing the "slight problem" he came down with after the Jamaican trials, the star of the evening was the Kenyan world and Olympic 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop.
Kiprop ran a time of 3min 28.88sec, which made him the fifth-fastest man in history. His performance made for a stark contrast with that of two other current Olympic champions, the USA's LaShawn Merritt, and Russia's Yelena Isinbaeva. Merritt didn't even finish the 400m, pulling up with 150m to go. He explained afterwards that he had felt a little cramp, and didn't want to risk getting an injury. "I'm ready," he insisted afterwards. "I just have to take care of my body first."
Belgium's Jon Borlee went on to win the 400m in 44.74sec, pipping the world champion Kirani James by two-hundredths of a second.while Britain's Martyn Rooney finished sixth in 45.52sec. He had said beforehand that he was suffering from a cold, but he was still too disappointed to stop and talk to the press. South Africa's Caster Semenya also had a bad night, trailing in ninth in the 800m.
Isinbaeva, the two-time Olympic champion and world record holder, only entered the pole vault competition at 4.70m, and then failed all three attempts at the height. "I'm not stable yet," she said, "and that makes me worry a bit." It was only her second outdoor competition of the season. Her failure left the way open for Bleasdale, but the Briton could not quite take advantage. She cleared 4.45m, as well as 4.62m at her second attempt, passed at 4.70m, and then failed 4.76m. That left her third behind Germany's Silke Spiegelberg.
Grabarz went one better, coming second to the US world champion Jesse Williams on countback. Grabarz's inconsistency cost him. Both men cleared 2.33m, but failed at 2.36m. Grabarz had failed twice at 2.26m, and it was those two fouls that cost him first place. Chris Tomlinson finished third in the long jump, the improved form he showed at Crystal Palace a week ago seemingly having deserted him as his best jump was 8.01m. Great Britain's Andrew Osagie also clocked a personal best of 1min 44.48sec in the 800m, which was still only good enough for eighth.