It was the first of its kind. There were puppets, painted statues, and a few individuals cheering the athletes in the largely empty stadium.
The much-awaited Bislett Games finally happened on Thursday 11th June with fans across the world watching it live on social feeds and also from the TV stations that aired the event. Some were just curious to see how the new idea of having athletes participating in the Games from different countries would work.
The pole vault between Renaud Lavillenie and Duplantis Armand was one of the interesting matches to watch; Lavillenie doing the event at the backyard of his home in France while Duplantis was inside the Stadium in Bislett. There was an atmosphere of real competition in this event as they kept raising the bar, giving one athlete the chance to try before shifting to the other, just the way it would happen in the usual Diamond league competitions. Duplantis eventually won with 5.86m against Lavillenie’s 5.81m.
When it was time for the men’s 2000m race, there were some contrasts in the two screens showing the race. It was a clear beautiful evening in Oslo with a few fans and some officials dotting and adding more life to the stadium. In Nairobi, it was rainy and the stadium was empty except for the one or two officials starting off the race and the five runners.
Even in the best weather in Nairobi, it was going to be harder for Timothy Cheruiyot’s team to tackle the Ingebrigtsen brothers due to the altitude alone. Bislett Stadium lies around 30m above the sea level while the altitude in the Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi is almost 1,800m. Add that to the rainy weather and it was indeed going to be “the impossible games” for the five Kenyan runners.
Jakob Ingebrigtsen ran a beautiful race to win the competition in a new personal best, meeting record and area record time of 4:50.01. His brothers Henrik and Filip followed in 4:53.72 and 4:56.91 respectively. In Kenya, Timothy Cheruiyot battled the wind and rain to emerge at the top in 5:03.05 followed by Edwin Melly in 5:13.12, and Elijah Managoi took third in 5:18.63.
Despite the challenges of the absence of fans in the stadiums and athletes having to compete from different destinations, the main thing is that the games took place and runners got the chance to showcase their talents.