Jakob Ingebrigtsen, 17, storms to historic 1500m title in Berlin

Jakob Ingebrigtsen
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17-year-old Jakob Ingebrigtsen stormed to the 1500m title at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships

A star is born. Norway’s 17-year-old Jakob Ingebrigtsen transformed himself from prodigious junior to astounding senior tonight as he took on a classy 1500m field including elder brothers - 2012 champion Henrik and reigning champion Filip - and pulverised it at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships. 

When the youngest Ingebrigtsen on show led his two siblings through the bell it seemed as if he might be hoping to see one or other through to a second title – but Jakob kept on running as if it was the easiest, most obvious thing in the world.

As the field reached the final straight he lengthened his stride, pinned his ears back and set off for the gold like a dog fetching a stick.

The field closed - with Poland’s hugely experienced Marcin Lewandowski timing his late charge with characteristic efficiency - closely tracked by another increasingly cute operator, Britain’s Commonwealth bronze medallist Jake Wightman. But the story was not to be changed, and the Ingebrigtsens were able to celebrate its third European 1500m champion in six years.

Ingebrigtsen, who took 5000m bronze and 1500m silver at last month’s IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, won in 3:38.10, with Lewandowski clocking 3:38.14. Wightman claimed himself another major medal in 3:38.25. 

Henrik Ingebrigtsen just missed the podium, finishing fourth in 3:38.50, while Filip slipped back to second last in 3:41.66. He had a circuitous route into the final, falling with 700 metres remaining and suffering a deep spike wound in the process. 

“I was wondering if I missed a lap or something,” said the bemused young champion in the immediate aftermath.

Ingebrigtsen mark three has been – like his contemporary athletic talent Sweden’s pole vault Armand Duplantis – a rising talent for a number of years, having won cross country and track titles at European level, as well as becoming the youngest athlete to run a sub-four minute mile.

Now the European Championships has the youngest track champion in history. What more history Jakob Ingebrigtsen will make over the years remains to be seen. It could be added to very soon, however, as he is due to line up with both his brothers in the 5000m final here tomorrow night. 

Martinot-Lagarde amends for bronze in Zurich with gold in Berlin

Pascal Martinot-Lagarde - that most volatile and emotional of athletes - was for once unable to speak as he was asked by the man in the middle to reflect upon winning the European 110m hurdles title from the man so strongly favoured to win it, Sergey Shubenkov. 

Both had come through the line together, with the Authorised Neutral Athlete tipping over and tumbling with the impetus of his finishing dip. Both clocked 13.17 with the Frenchman taking gold by the margin 0.002. 

It was an extraordinary reversal of fortunes from four years ago when Martinot-Lagarde - having set a national record of 12.95 - arrived at the European Championships in Zurich as favourite only to lose out to Shubenkov, who would take the world title in Beijing the following year. 

This year it has been Shubenkov who has set the pace, breaking 13 seconds on three occasions last month, with a best of 12.92 that meant Colin Jackson’s then world and now European record of 12.91, set in 1993, was patently within grasp.

Martinot-Lagarde, by contrast, has made slow and stuttering progress this season as he has worked to regain fitness from injury. But while he might not have made the most of his talents on some previous occasions, he got every iota of speed out of himself here tonight.

Bronze went to Spain’s Olympic silver medallist Orlando Ortega in 13.34.

While his younger compatriot Jakob Ingebrigtsen ended the night wearing a Viking helmet, there were no similar celebrations this time for world 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm, whose bid to add the European 400m title to his tally turned out to be a challenge too far as Britain’s 23-year-old Matthew Hudson-Smith fulfilled his potential to take a first major individual title in 44.78.

While Warholm started with his usual ferocity, the Brit also went out hard from the blocks, and had clearly established a lead around the final bend. As he came into the straight he was almost 10 metres clear, and although the field gained on him, he just held his form. 

Then he was flat on his back with a cameraman - and Berlino the Bear - looming over him. An exhausted Warholm, who had finished last, also offered a hand that was briefly clasped. 

Silver went to Belgium’s 2010 champion Kevin Borlee in 45.13, with brother Jonathan claiming bronze in 45.19. What a night for siblings!