Indefatigable Ingebrigtsen sails through 1500m and 3000m heats in Glasgow

Jakob Ingebrigtsen
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Norway's Jakob Ingebrigtsen won both his 1500m and 3000m heats on the first session of the Glasgow 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships

Jakob Ingebrigtsen moved two steps closer to a European indoor double to match the outdoor golds he won in Berlin last summer as he won his 1500m and 3000m heats - with just 80 minutes in between - in the opening morning session of the Glasgow 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships.

Meanwhile Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson took three big steps towards regaining the pentathlon title she won four years ago in Prague with a championship record of 5000 points, moving towards tonight’s concluding events with a lead of 118 points over France’s Solene Ndama with fellow Brit Niamh Emerson, the world U20 champion, just seven points adrift.

Still at high school, 18-year-old Ingebrigtsen ran with the assurance of an old hand as he controlled both his opening races from the front, clocking 3:42.00 for the 1500m before recording 7:51.21 in the longer distance – a European indoor U20 record – ahead of Scotland and Britain’s Andrew Butchart’s 7:51.28.

During yesterday’s press conference at Glasgow City Chambers, Ingebrigtsen had registered his surprise that, following a timetable change, his heats were spaced by an extra 35 minutes, at 12:00pm and 1:20pm, meaning he would have to do an extra warm-up in between. But he managed superbly.

“I felt OK,” he said after his 1500m race. “Some of the guys were trying to get first and I held them off. On returning for the 3000m heats later in this session: I need to go and eat something and just cool down.”

In the opening 1500m heat his elder brother Filip, the 2016 European 1500m champion, had came home first in 3:46.50, only to be disqualified for pushing through on the inside a couple of laps from home and stepping into the infield. “I am angry and confused,” he said.

Johnson-Thompson on course to regain pentathlon title

There was a cluster of red-shirted followers in the stands, all bearing the white letters KJT, and at least one doggedly waving the notice: “She comes from Liverpool”. KJT didn’t disappoint.

She had got off to an entirely satisfactory start in the opening 60m hurdles, equalling her season’s best of 8.27 to earn 1109 points which placed her second overall and 34 points behind European 100m hurdles finalist Solene Ndama, who recorded a championship best of 8.09.

Johnson-Thompson’s straight face broke into a smile as – with all the other jumpers out of the competition - she equalled her season’s best of 1.93m. After clearing the next height - 1.96m - just a centimetre below her personal best, at the first attempt, she rose from the landing mat with a broad grin. Her mark also equalled Nafissatou Thiam’s championship best.

That was enough to establish her in the lead with 2252 points, with Latvia’s Laura Ikauniece second on 2093 and Niamh Emerson, who cleared 1.87m, equalling her indoor best, third on 2075.

An opening shot put of 13.15m with her first throw kept the smile on KJT’s face – a personal best, either indoors or outdoors, by a centimetre.

Emerson was soon registering her own delight as she produced a personal best of 13.93m to move up to silver medal position overall, but Ndama’s effort of 14.23m trimmed her back to bronze with two events to go.

Warholm passes early test on his major indoor debut

Meanwhile the Ingebrigtsens’ compatriot Karsten Warholm was also making an early impact in Glasgow. The world and European 400m hurdles champion, who made a late decision to enter the 400m flat, won his opening heat from the front, clocking 47.05.

Slovenia’s Luka Janezic was the fastest qualifier with Spain’s Oscar Husillos winning his heat in 47.34.

Lea Sprunger of Switzerland topped the qualifiers for tonight’s 400m semifinals in 52.46, ahead of Lisanne de Witte of the Netherlands (52.56) ahead of Cynthia Bolingo Mbongo, who ran a Belgian record of 52.60.

Sprunger’s compatriot Selina Buchel headed the qualifiers for tomorrow’s 800m semifinals in 2:02.02 ahead of Britain’s Adelle Tracey, who clocked 2:02.51, and Esther Guerrero of Spain, who clocked 2:02.95.

Mixed fortunes for standout names in field event qualifying

The big names progressed in the women’s triple jump as Ukraine’s Olha Saladukha, three-time European champion outdoors and once indoors, topped qualifying with a season’s best of 14.40m ahead of Portugal’s Susana Costa, who set a personal best of 14.28, the same distance as Greece’s current European outdoor champion Paraskevi Papahristou.

Poland’s European champion Michal Haratyk was one of four men to surpass the automatic qualifying distance of 20.90m in the shot put, finishing second in the standings with 20.98m behind Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Mesud Pezer, who reached out to 21.08m.

But Haratyk’s compatriot Konrad Bukowiecki, the defending champion and European outdoor silver medallist behind Haratyk, was a surprise non-qualifier on 20.18m.

Italy’s exuberant 2016 European high jump champion Gianmarco Tamberi, sportingly sporting a kilt in warm-up for the occasion, was one of seven qualifiers to reach the final with 2.25m. Germany’s Mateusz Przybylko, the 2018 European champion, was the only man to clear 2.28.

The men’s long jump qualifying got underway without the defending champion, Albania’s Izmir Smajlaj who withdrew from the competition during warm-up.

Three athletes bettered the automatic qualifying mark of 7.95m with Ukraine’s Serhii Nykyforov reaching 8.03m ahead of Greece’s European outdoor champion Miltiadis Tentoglou, who reached 8.01m ahead of Sweden’s Thobias Nilsson Montler, who managed 7.95m.