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Ingebrigtsen’s 1500/3000m double propels Norway to top of the medal table in Istanbul

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  • Ingebrigtsen’s 1500/3000m double propels Norway to top of the medal table in Istanbul

By now all of Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s rivals know exactly what he’s going to do in major finals, but having that knowledge and being able to do anything with it are two very different things. 

On Sunday (5) night in Istanbul, during the final session of the European Athletics Indoor Championships, they tried their best to stick with the 22-year-old Norwegian as he put his rivals to the sword with one of his trademark, textbook, front-running performances in the men’s 3000m.

Tried and failed, that is.

Not that losing to Ingebrigtsen is anything to be ashamed of, given this is, and will likely remain, the status quo in European distance running for the foreseeable future. He has already amassed 11 titles – between indoor, outdoor and cross country – and his latest golden double here in Istanbul was again achieved with the kind of awesome, irrepressible increases in pace which he makes look so effortless.

Ingebrigtsen had traded the lead with chief rival Adel Mechaal of Spain through a pedestrian first 1000m of 2:41.87, and he slowly squeezed the throttle in the laps that followed, hitting 2000m in 5:15.45. One by one they began to fall away as Ingebrigtsen cranked up the pace, his second 1500m of 3:40.59 a time many of his rivals would have struggled to run with a fresh start.

Ingebrigtsen waited until the final lap to truly put the hammer down, ripping through it in 26.54 to hit the line in 7:40.32. Mechaal took silver with 7:41.75, while Serbia’s Elzan Bibic took bronze with 7:44.03, just in front of fast-finishing Irishman Darragh McElhinney (7:44.72).

“It was a feeling like I raced myself today,” said Ingebrigtsen, who could never be accused of harbouring much self-doubt. “I would love to get some more competition but maybe that is just me, expecting too much. I guess the other runners tried to get a good race for themselves and not fight for second place.”

Ingebrigtsen said he was “not happy” with his indoor season. “I had a good October and November and December going to the Cross Country Championships. After that, I have been doing nothing. But the last couple of weeks have been good. I am really looking forward to getting some good training.”

Hodgkinson defends 800m title with gun-to-tape tactics

If there was one favourite more overwhelming than Ingebrigtsen here in Istanbul, then it was Keely Hodgkinson, and the brilliant Briton was even more peerless when coasting to her second successive women’s 800m title in 1:58.66.

Hodgkinson could have won this any way she wanted, but she chose to minimise any potential issues by keeping it very simple and running at a pace no one in the field has ever sustained for 800m. She powered through the opening lap in 28.36, hit 400m in 58.22 and 600m in 1:28.58. By then she had a few metres’ advantage, and it only grew as she churned through the final lap, hitting the line in splendid isolation in 1:58.66.

“I know what to expect from myself so it was like: Get out there, do my thing,” said Hodgkinson. “I will have a few days off now and then will prepare to chase some more wins. I have so much more. I just want to continue with my consistency.”


Slovenia’s Anita Horvat won the battle for silver, clocking 2:00.54, while France’s Agnes Raharolahy came from behind to take bronze in 2:00.85. Spain’s Lorea Ibarzabal finished fourth in a PB of 2:00.87, just in front of rising star Audrey Werro of Switzerland, who saw the bronze medal slip away in the dying metres as she clocked 2:00.91 for fifth.

The men’s pole vault brought more success for Norway through Sondre Guttormsen, who helped his nation to top the medal table with four golds, edging an ultra-tight competition that saw five men finish on a best of 5.80m. It was the first Norwegian medal ever at the championships in the men’s pole vault.

Greece’s Emmanouil Karalis and Piotr Lisek of Poland shared the silver, a fifth European indoor medal for the latter. Two of the unluckiest non-medallists at the championships were Germany’s Torben Blech and France’s Ethan Cormont, edged out of the medals on countback.

Guttormsen won via a flawless series up to and including 5.80m, putting him in firm command as the bar moved to 5.85m, where no one was successful. Karalis recorded just one failure before that, at 5.60m, while Lisek’s sole failure came at 5.70m.

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“I knew I had good chances of winning and it was definitely not expected, but goal accomplished,” said Guttormsen, who took full advantage of the absence of Sweden’s Armand Duplantis. “I do not make the start lists so who wants to show up, shows up,” he said. “I am where I have got to be. And today, I was the best and it is about that.”

As for any Sunday night celebrations? Guttormsen said there would be none, given he had an early flight back to the US on Monday as he prepares for next weekend’s NCAA Indoor Championships.

Cathal Dennehy for European Athletics

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