Marco Arop held off world 1,500-metre champion Jake Wightman of Great Britain until the final straightaway but the 800 specialist didn’t have the legs to go the extra distance and pull out the victory in Wednesday’s 1,000 race at Diamond League Monaco.
Wightman passed his Canadian opponent with about 35 metres to the finish line en route to victory in a season world-leading time of two minutes 13.88 seconds at Stade Louis II.
Arop, who hadn’t raced since earning bronze in the 800 at last month’s World Athletics Championships, was second in 2:14.35, topping Nate Brannen’s 2:16.52 national record from Aug. 20, 2012 in Linz, Austria. Clayton Murphy of the United States placed third (2:15.73).
The 28-year-old Wightman, coming off a bronze-medal performance at the Commonwealth Games last Saturday, ran under the meet record time of 2:17.42 by Kenya’s Solomon Lekuta on July 20, 2018.
It’s the ninth-fastest time ever to win the men’s 1,000 in Monaco, the quickest by anyone since Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti clocked 2:13.49 on Aug. 25, 2016 and allowed Wightman to clinch third on the U.K. all-time list in the distance.
For Arop, it was his third top-three finish in as many races on the professional track and field circuit this season, following his third-place finish at the Diamond League season opener in Doha on May 13. He won eight days later, also in the 800 event, at Birmingham, England.
Last year in Monaco, the 23-year-old ran a 1:43.26 personal best, only 6-100ths of a second behind Brandon McBride’s Canadian mark in the 800.
Before Arop became only the second Canadian man in history to win a world medal in the 800, he won his second Canadian title at the senior level and followed with a victory at the pre world championships invitational in his native Edmonton.
On Wednesday, the six-foot-four Arop parked himself behind American pacesetter Erik Sowinski from the outset and had a healthy advantage over Wightman when Sowinski dropped out midway through the race.
American sweep in men’s 200m
However, Wightman began to kick hard at the bell lap and closed in on Arop on the final bend with about 200 metres to the finish.
Elsewhere, Toronto native Aaron Brown clocked 20.23 seconds for fifth in the men’s 200, won by Noah Lyles in a meet record 19.46 over fellow Americans Erriyon Knighton (19.84) and Michael Norman (19.95), the 400 champion at this year’s worlds in Eugene, Ore.
The 25-year-old Lyles, fresh off his victory and 19.31 season world-leading time in the world final, lowered his meet mark from 19.65 in 2018.
Brown, 30, was also fifth in his other Diamond League 200 this season in Doha in May. The four-time defending Canadian champion was seventh in the world final before helping Canada’s men’s relay team deliver a stunning upset.
The gold medal won by Andre De Grasse, Jerome Blake, Brendon Rodney and Brown in 37.48 seconds – the fastest in the world this season and a new Canadian record – was the country’s first major championship in the 4×100 race since Donovan Bailey, Bruny Surin, Glenroy Gilbert and Robert Esmie sandwiched their Olympic gold at the 1996 Atlanta Games between back-to-back world titles in 1995 and ’97.
Django Lovett of Surrey, B.C., finished fifth in men’s high jump after clearing 2.20 metres before missing all three attempts at 2:25.
The 30-year-old was sixth at worlds on the heels of his second consecutive Canadian title.
Liz Gleadle of Vancouver threw 57.08 metres in her lone attempt in women’s javelin, finishing last in the field of nine.
Wednesday’s competition represented the first Diamond League event of 2022 for the 33-year-old, who was fifth last July 9 in Monaco with a throw of 58.40. Three days ago, she placed fourth in the women’s final at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Action shifts to Switzerland for the 11th Diamond League meeting and 47th edition of Athletissima on Aug. 26 in Lausanne, where no fewer than eight reigning Olympic champions will compete.