More track history beckons for Jakob Ingebrigtsen in Glasgow

Jakob Ingebrigtsen
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Jakob Ingebrigtsen has entered both the 1500m and 3000m at the Glasgow 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships

To promote the 2017 Bislett Games in Oslo the meeting organisers depicted Norway’s very own Ingebrigtsen brothers – Henrik, Filip and the then 16-year-old Jakob – as characters in the style of Reservoir Dogs, striding confidently alongside each other in suits and ties, with the tagline: Ruthless.

On that occasion young Jakob lived up to his billing as he won a Dream Mile, recalibrated for U20 runners in order to showcase his talent, reducing his personal best of 3:58.07 – which had made him the youngest runner to break four minutes – to 3:56.29.

Fast forward just over a year, and the prodigy was delivering at senior level as he produced one of the outstanding displays at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships, winning the 1500m and 5000m titles on consecutive days. Ruthlessly.

Now he is heading for the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow with another double in mind as he seeks gold in both 1500m and 3000m, a double which has been achieved by a man in the history of the championships.

The 18-year-old – he only turns 19 on September 19th this year – has raced just twice this season. After breaking the world indoor U20 1500m record on his season's debut with 3:36.21 earlier this month, he improved that mark in startling fashion at the IAAF World Indoor Tour finale in Dusseldorf last Wednesday (20), improving to 3:36.02.

 

En route to that victory he had coolly tracked and finally passed the 19-year-old Ethiopian Samuel Tefera who, four days earlier in Birmingham, had eclipsed the 1997 world indoor 1500m record of 3:31.18 set by Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj, clocking 3:31.04.

“I ran 3:36 a couple weeks ago and now I’m in better shape than in that race,” Ingebrigtsen commented afterwards. “So obviously I could have run a few seconds faster, but today it was all about winning.”

Asked if he regretted not having raced Tefera in Birmingham, he responded: “I had fun with my workout back home. I decided to race here instead. I’m happy for that.”

This calm and extraordinary performer, guided by his father and coach Gjert is following his own route towards his next sporting ambition. Given the manner in which he delivered under pressure in Berlin it is hard to see him falling short in Glasgow – but he won’t have things all his own way.

In the 3000m, for instance, he faces his older brother Henrik, the 2012 European gold medallist, who made a late decision not to race in Dusseldorf. 

The eldest Ingebrigtsen brother has won medals of all three hues outdoors over 1500m at the European Championships and also took 5000m silver behind Jakob in Berlin.

Henrik has also established a podium habit indoors, having won 3000m bronze in Prague four years ago and silver in Belgrade in 2017.

Filip, 25, who won the European 1500m title in 2016 and added world bronze in London the following year, is currently eighth in the European lists for 3000m although he didn’t face any opposition when he clocked 7:49.73 at the Nordenkampen in Baerum on 10 February.

Filip was initially planning to contest both the 1500m and 3000m in Glasgow but he has made the decision to focus solely on the 1500m. He has moved up to eighth on this year’s European list thanks to his third-place finish behind his brother and Tefera in Dusseldorf, clocking 3:38.62.

The brothers Ingebrigtsen will also face strong challenges in both 1500 and 3000m. Poland’s 31-year-old Marcin Lewandowski will make a late decision whether to defend his European indoor 1500m title or drop back down to the 800m. 

He indicated his strong form in Torun earlier this month with a 1500m national record of 3:36.50 that puts him third in the European indoor lists for 2019, one place behind Jakob Ingebrigtsen.

Great Britain’s Josh Kerr tops the lists with the 3:35.72 he clocked in finishing fourth behind Tefera in Birmingham but the former European U20 champion is not competing in Glasgow.

But two Scots hoping to earn home glory are Andrew Butchart, who finished sixth in the 5000m final at the 2016 Olympics, and Chris O’Hare, the 2017 European indoor 1500m bronze medallist who is fourth in the 3000m lists with 7:47.48.

Sam Parsons, who is a place behind O’Hare with 7:49.16, is also likely to be in the mix on his debut in a German vest but it does look as if the three fleet Norwegian siblings are about to populate the podium once again in Glasgow. More Ingebrigtsen track history looms.