Asbel Kiprop is back in Monaco – and in pursuit of the world 1500 metres record.
Kenya's double world champion, who ran the fourth fastest time ever recorded, 3 min 27.72sec, in winning here last year, has targeted his return to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League meeting in Stade Louis II for an attempt to better that mark - and to challenge the 16-year-old world record of 3:26.00 set in Rome by Hicham El Guerrouj.
"I have come here hoping for a faster time than last year, and with a target of 3.26," he said.
"I believe I can get close to it or even better.
"I have come here to try.
"If you try and fail you might get disappointed.
"But if you don't try you will be disappointed."
Kiprop set the fastest 800m time of the year - 1:43.34 - in winning at the Paris Diamond League meeting on July 5, a race he said was "part of his preparation" for his 1500m in Monaco.
"My idea in Paris was to run a 1.44, but in the final 200m I felt I could do more," he said.
"I enjoy it every time I come to Monaco.
"In 2011 I ran my 800m personal best of 1:43.15, in 2012 I had the world leading 1500m time of 3:28.88, and last year it was the fourth fastest time ever."
Kiprop was sitting alongside his fellow Kenyan, friend and near neighbour in Eldoret - Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha, who equalled his 2014 800m best a week later at the Diamond League meeting in Glasgow.
For Rudisha, Monaco is the next step in his return to peak fitness following a year's absence due to a knee injury.
"It's bee a difficult year for me," Rudisha said.
"Coming back from injury hasn't been an easy job.
"I wanted to come back with a time of around 1.44, which I did in Eugene, and I was happy with that.
"Then afterwards I wanted a win to help me get back my confidence.
"So my shape is progressing, I am coming along.
"Asbel is a good friend of mine.
"We sometimes run together in the mornings when we see each other in Eldoret.
"He lives about 200m away from me.
"I watched his race in Paris when he did 1.43.34 - I didn't think he was going to run that fast! So when he did that of course I had to push my training.
"I want to improve with each race and closing season with 1.42 would be great.
"But if you feel great could even do that 1.42 here."
Ukraine's world high jump gold medallist Bogdan Bondarenko and Qatar's world indoor high jump champion Mutaz Essa Barshim will be among six men competing in Stade Louis II who have cleared 2.40 metres or higher.
Neither of them is underestimating the difficulty of surpassing Javier Sotomayor's 1993 world record of 2.45m - but both believe that, if and when one of the growing number of serious contenders breaks that mark, others will swiftly follow.
"For someone to break the world record, everything will have to be at 100 per cent," said Barshim, who cleared 2.42 at the New York Diamond League meeting, but lost on countback to the Ukrainian. An unusual experience.
"But I think it could be, if it goes one time,
"I believe it is going to go again. It is not going to stand as long as the current record.
Bondarenko agreed. "It is very hard, but if one person can jump it I think all the other people will want to do it," he said.
Barshim added: "I think this is going to be a good competition.
"To have six athletes jumping over 2.40 is history in itself.
"Any high jumper wants to be in such a great field. Hopefully we will push each other to great heights tomorrow.
"I think it's easier when you have everybody in a competition.
"You can have ab good performance when you are alone, but if you want to do something spectacular you need something like that."
Bondarenko concurred. "I think it is best for the jumpers, and the people watching, when there are many people in the competition," he said.
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