JACOB INGEBRIGTSEN NABS SECOND EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS GOLD MEDAL
By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2018 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
PHOTO: Norway’s Jacob and Henrik Ingebrigtsen finish first and second, respectively, in the 5000m at the 2018 European Athletics Championships in Berlin (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)
BERLIN (11-Aug) — Norway’s Jacob Ingebrigtsen became the first man in history to win both the 1500m and 5000m at the same European Championships when he won the longer event at Olympic Stadium here tonight in dominant fashion. Racing with his older brother Henrik, the 17 year-old ran away from the field on the final two laps of the twelve and one-half lap event, clocking a European under-20 record of 13:17.06. Henrik won the silver medal in 13:18.75, and Frenchman Morhad Amdouni, who had won the gold medal in the 10,000m on Tuesday, got the bronze in 13:19.14.
“We didn’t have a strategy,” the winner told reporters after the race in fluent English. “We just wanted to do our best.”
For the first 3000 meters, the brothers ran tucked within the pack, saving energy. They were content to let Switzerland’s Julien Wanders do most of the leading. Wanders, better known as a road runner with a 60:09 half-marathon personal best, kept the pace honest, hoping to wear down the Norwegian brothers who both possess powerful closing sprints.
“My strategy was to push the pace because I know that there were some very fast 1500m runners,” Wanders told Race Results Weekly.
Wanders led through 3000m (8:04.91), and continued on the front until 3600m when the Ingebrigtsen’s took over. From the 3800m point, Jacob was the only leader for the rest of the race with Henrik right on his tail with the Frenchman Amdouni. Jacob, who races in a one-piece speedsuit like his brothers, turned the penultimate lap in 61.95 seconds, then dropped the pace on the final lap to an impossible-to-beat 54.09. That put the race away.
“We decided to put in some work,” Jacob said of their decision to lead the closing laps. “It feels better to take the gold feeling that you have earned it.” He continued: “I felt really confident going into today’s race, and also yesterday (when he won the 1500m). I know what I’m capable of, I know what shape I’m in. I was looking forward to racing here in Berlin, and it worked out pretty good.”
Wanders, who finished eighth in a personal best 13:24.79, had nothing but respect for Ingebrigtsen. “He was really strong,” said Wanders. “He’s really training hard and he was worked very hard for it.”
Belgium’s Soufiane Bouchiki, who finished tenth tonight, said that although Ingebrigtsen was young, he already had an unusual amount of training under his belt. “He starts at the age of three or four doing Nordic skiing,” Bouchiki observed. “He always had his brothers as a motivation. Now he’s world class.”
PHOTO: Poland’s Adam Kszczot wins his third consecutive European Athletics Championships 800m title in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)
Ingebrigtsen’s victory tonight overshadowed Adam Kszczot’s record third consecutive 800m gold medal at a European Athletics Championships in a season’s best 1:44.59. Kszczot, a master tactician, surprised the field by moving earlier than he normally does for victory. After France’s Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, the reigning world champion, shot ahead of the field just before the bell, Kszczot reacted quickly, running a close third behind Bosse and Sweden’s Andreas Kramer at the 600m mark. Instead of waiting, Kszczot launched a long sprint for home, leaving both Kramer and the tiring Bosse running for second.
“Experience, experience, experience,” Kszczot said was the key to tonight’s win. “I knew that this was the moment. I saved so much energy so I would have enough for the kick.”
Kramer, who led for nearly the entire first lap, was rewarded with a silver medal, and is time of 1:45.03 equaled his own Swedish record. He said that running from the front early was his best tactic tonight.
“I felt like I did it in the heats and the semi-finals; I had no problem doing it,” Kramer told Race Results Weekly. But he admitted that Kszczot was simply too strong. “He’s very hard to beat,” he added.
Bosse faded in the final push to the line, and was nearly past by the up-and-coming Polish athlete Michal Rozmys. In the end, Bosse got to the line just 2/100ths of a second ahead of Rozmys, 1:45.30 to 1:45.32.
“I feel great,” Bosse told European Athletics interviewers. “I lost, but I feel great. I am glad I did not place fourth with only 2/100 seconds left to fourth place.”
The 24th European Athletics Championships conclude here tomorrow. The marathons for men and women will be held on the streets of Berlin in the morning; 56 women from 20 countries and 72 men from 25 countries are entered. There will be one track session tomorrow evening and the finals for the women’s 1500m, 5000m and 3000m steeplechase will be contested.