The level of the 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships was one of the highest in my memory. The men’s 1,500m was no exception. Jakub Ingebrigtsen took a second medal. The young Norwegian, all of 18, took gold and silver, and showed the world, that even at the tender age of eighteen, Mr. Ingebigtsen elicits a stong following.
Stuart Weir writes about the Men’s 1,500m. I recall meeting Marcin Lewandowski. Marcin and I met in a car ride to the FBK Hengelo meeting in 2011 or 2012. The young Pole was considering the move from 800m to 1,500m. Marcin’s exhilerating finishes have been honed over a decade of 800m racing. His win in Glasgow was no differrent, except for one thing: he broke the plan of a promising Norwegian.
It seems absurd to say that the big story tonight was that a teenager was beaten by the reigning European Indoor championship – from 2015 and 2017 in fact – but that is indeed the story! Having won the 3000m, Jakob Ingebrigtsen was a nailed-on favorite for the 1500m. And for most the race, it looked as if Ingebrigtsen was going to get his expected win. Then on the final lap, Marcin Lewandowski, over-took him and The Norwegian was unable to respond. The winner’s time was 3:42.85 with Ingebrigtsen finishing on 3:43.23
The reigning champion said: ” At the beginning of the race I was a bit closed in. I was running just behind Jesus Gomez. Everyone was behind Gomez, but I wanted to prove I can make it before him. And then the fight was between two us. Every result I have achieved is thanks to my heart. I always rely on my heart. Right now, I am thinking about my family as itÂ´s been three weeks since I was at home. ItÂ´s a sacrifice, but well worth it”.
Ingebrigtsen said: “I will take silver. It is an honour to be here amongst these great athletes. These championships are a sort of a bonus because the outdoor season really matters to us. I tried to have a strong last lap but today it was not quite good enough. I will try next time”.
In his comments on the 3000m last night which Jakob Ingebrigtsen won, his older brother, Henrik, said: “I think I deserve to own half of JakobÂ´s medals. So in my mind, I won one bronze and half a gold medal. We prepared for everything but we didnÂ´t plan anything. I felt we controlled the race from start to finish. We controlled the pace and our positions and waited for the bell to ring. The most important thing is that we won today”.
At the time, I thought this was a joke but now I wonder if there is more to it. Note how Henrik says We prepared, we controlled the pace and we waited and we won. Is there actually some truth in that? They ran as a pair. When Jakob won the 1500 and the 5000 at the European Championships last summer, he had his brothers in the races. Is there more truth in Henrik’s comments than we realized? Are the older brothers effectively acting as his brains and a pace-makers?
For an 18 year-old to gain a silver and a gold at middle-distance events is a phenomenal achievement. That we are even expressing surprise that he did not win, just shows how big he has set the bar.