Oh brother! It's gold for Ingebrigsten

Oh brother! It's gold for Ingebrigsten
Getty Images

The youngest entrant in the race, Jakob Ingebrigsten claimed Norway's first gold medal in the under-20 age group at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships.

Norway's most famous athletics family has another gold medallist in its ranks after a sensational performance from 16-year-old Jakob Ingebrigsten brought him victory in the men's under-20 race at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Chia this morning.

In a year which has seen his older brothers Filip and Henrik make the podium at the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam - winning gold and bronze respectively in the 1500m - now the teenage member of the pack is a champion too.

Ingebrigtsen bided his time, and showed experience beyond his years to overtake Italy's big hope Yohanes Chiappinelli on the final long lap, and break away to win in 17:06.

He was exhausted as he crossed the line, and was lying flat on his back recovering by the time Chiappinelli came through in second (17:14) with Great Britain's Mahamed Mahamed third (17:16).

In fourth for the second year in a row was France's Jimmy Gressier in 17:19, but it was a key performance as he led his nation to team gold with 26 points from Spain, who had Adrian Ben in eighth (17:30), in second (42) as Britain took bronze (43).

In a race over 6.15km, Britain's Alexander Yee made the early running and looked like he would be the man to catch.

But he was then sent tumbling to the ground by what seemed like a push as the athletes crowded in behind him and then as he got up, he was sent tumbling again as the rest of the field passed by him.

Yee amazingly recovered, finished 11th in 17:35 and made the podium for that team bronze on a day he will never forget.

Neither will Ingebrigtsen, the youngest man in the field who is such a talent, let alone the inspiration he must gain from his older brothers, with Henrik the 2012 European 1500m champion.

It was a great race as Chiappinelli took the lead but he did not seem to have enough of an advantage. Mahamed seemed his initial threat before Ingebrigsten slowly narrowed the gap on the pair of them and took control as the race hit the 15-minute mark.

From then on, there was only one winner as the young Norwegian runner increased his speed to secure the first of what could be many major victories in his career.

Chiappinelli  said: “It was a bitter-sweet feeling at the finish line. I was hoping to win as I felt favourite of this race and I felt big support in the audience too. But the opponents were so strong, Jakob was maybe even more motivated than me. He got me in the last laps. I tried to take the lead again but it was not enough and he won.”

Mahamed said: “This is a huge improvement for me after I came 22nd last year. I am more experienced now.”

The consistency of France's youngsters brought this team glory again after their gold in Hyères.

Once more Mohamed-Amine El Bouajaji was in their squad, as he finished fifth (17:20) with Huga Hay in seventh (17:30) and Abderrazak Charik in 10th (17:34).