Filip Ingebrigtsen glides to the senior men’s title in Tilburg

Filip Ingebrigtsen
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Norway's Filip Ingebrigtsen was a majestic winner of the senior men's race at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Tilburg

After the U20 glory of his brother Jakob a few hours earlier, Filip Ingebrigtsen wrote another amazing chapter into this Norwegian family story with a sensational performance to win the senior men’s race at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Tilburg today (9). 

Whatever happened here, it had already been the most astonishing year for the Ingebrigtsens after Jakob’s double glory at the European Championships in Berlin.

But now they have two more golds - and three, including Norway’s team title in the U20 race - with Filip showing that he can rule in the mud as much as on the track.

His win ends Turkey’s dominance of this men’s senior event - they had won gold on the past four occasions - and puts Filip right back at the forefront of the sport again. Filip was the arguable favourite for the 1500m title at the European Championships but he faded to 12th in the final after sustaining an injury in the heats while his younger brother soaked up the plaudits.

Ingebrigtsen’s track background meant he had the sprint finish and he executed it at just the right time, moving in front before the last few tricky turns.

He had one gear left after easing past his rivals and then with one final glance behind his shoulder with Kimeli behind him, Ingebrigtsen put his foot down with 120 metres left and he was never going to be beaten. 

He posed a Superman as he celebrated, his arms curved in a pumped up pose, after winning the 10.3km race in 28:49 from Kimeli (28:52), Aras Kaya (28:56) and fellow Turk Kaan Kigen Ozbilen, the defending champion, fourth in 29:04. 

And there was gold again for Ozbilen as Turkey retained their team title with Polat Kemboi Arikan, the 2014 champion, seventh in 29:14 to make it an impressive first three home for 14 points

Ahead of Great Britain with 34 and Italy with 37. The Italians were led by Yemaneberhan Crippa - sixth in 29:14 - who now has nine medals from the European Cross Country Championships.

Henrik Ingebrigtsen was 18th in 29:45 in what has been a great year for him, too, with his superb 5000m silver behind Jakob in Berlin and all three of the brothers will be heading to Glasgow for the European Indoor Championships in March in search of more success in what has become a remarkable family. 

“I don’t know what I was a hoping for today,” said Filip. “This is for sure not my distance. I try to improve the weak side of my running and this is one way of doing this. 

“I have competed a couple of times in the U20 and U23 races and I never finished in the top 20. I wanted to run a decent race but to come here and win the senior race with this level of athletes, is something I didn’t dream of. I stayed with the first group and one after one they started to drop.

“And, yes, a second gold medal for the family today. We come from the west coast of Norway, it is always windy and rainy over there, so perhaps it is not coincidence.” 

Kimeli, the U23 silver medallist in Chia in 2016, said: “I am satisfied and it was amazing with all the Belgian fans.” 

A year ago Kaya recovered to finish seventh after falling and he said: “I tried to push harder but with the mud and the ups and downs, it was really hard. In 2016, I won the title, so I am really happy with bronze.”