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Ingebrigtsen retains 5000m title at Roma 2024

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  • Ingebrigtsen retains 5000m title at Roma 2024

Jakob Ingebrigtsen was back to his swaggering best as he grabbed his fifth ever gold medal at the European Athletics Championships and completed the first leg of another potential 1500m/5000m double.

Arguably, the more challenging event is the 5000m and it was the Norwegian’s first outing at the distance since winning gold at last year’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest.

"Great stadium and great crowd"

He started cautiously, preferring to keep a watching brief at the back of the field in the opening laps. But as they neared halfway, he moved towards the front to keep firmly in touch with the leaders, including Spain’s Adel Mechaal, a three time European indoor 3000m medallist and Britain’s improving George Mills.

As the bell sounded, Ingebrigtsen took charge running to the front and only Mills was able to go with him. As they entered the final straight, there were echoes of the last two World Championships 1500m finals, where the Norwegian was overtaken by a British athlete in the closing stages, namely Jake Wightman (Eugene 2022) and Josh Kerr (Budapest 2023).

But not this time. Ingebrigtsen poured on the pace, running a 54.14 final lap to leave Mills trailing and take another title in 13:20.11. Mills had the consolation of his first senior championship medal, winning silver in 13:21.38, with Switzerland’s Dominic Lokinyomo Lobalu coming through for bronze in 13:21.61.

“This is what it is all about - a great stadium and a great crowd,” said a very satisfied Ingebrigtsen. “I am very happy with my performance. I am going in the right direction. I am getting better and better in every race. 

“This is a championships, the level is high and I performed at my best. Right now it is all about recovering, get a good night of sleep and prepare for my next race.”

Karlstrom finally gets his hands on gold

Four-times a medallist with three bronze and one silver at the World Athletics Championships and also silver medallist in Munich 2022, Sweden’s Perseus Karlström finally got the gold he had been craving with a disciplined display in the men’s 20k walk.

Always to the fore, he led to 7km, before Paul McGrath took over. The Spaniard was attempting to the add the senior title to the European U20 and U23 gold medals he has already won in recent years. And he looked a likely winner moving into the second half of the race. But Karlstrom did not panic.

He re-took the lead at 15k and gradually eased away to win in 2:19:13, celebrating with some press ups after crossing the finish line. 

McGrath dug in for a hard-fought silver in 1:19.31. And following the Italian 1-2 in the women’s 20k walk Francesco Fortunato complete the set for the host nation, winning bronze in 1:19.54, two places higher than he managed at Munich 2022.

“The crowd is amazing here, all the time, at Medal Plaza, they helped a lot,” said Karlstrom, revelling in the atmosphere on the course around the Foro Italico. 

“I have had a good connection with Italians, with Italian race walkers and of course with the good food. I also speak a little Italian. When Paul (McGrath) got in front of me during the race, I was not nervous. It was in a very pressured situation, but I managed to keep his pace and the distance between him and me did not increase. 

“So, I was feeling comfortable. I felt this race is mine. Walking through the tunnel on the last 400m and then entering the stadium and the noise explodes, it is such an amazing feeling, it is incredible, I love it! Race walking is big in Italy and to beat the Italian here in Rome it is a good feeling.”

Italian leads 800m final qualifiers

In the men’s 800m, Italian hope Catalin Tecuceanu laid down a marker for Sunday’s final, striking out at 600m to win the first semi final in 1:46.30. The second semi final was won by France’s Olympic and World finalist Gabriel Tual, who took over with 300m left to stride to victory in 1:45:03. 

European indoor champion Adrian Ben of Spain sneaked through as a non-automatic qualifier after placing fourth in the second semi in 1:45.34.

Chris Broadbent for European Athletics

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