The highlight of last night, at the Meeting de Lieven, was the first World record as a senior athlete for Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medalist at the 1,500 meters. In Lieven, in front of 5000 adoring fans, Jakob battled Samuel Tefera, WR holder in 1,500m in 3:31.04, and broke his world record with a definitive 3:30.60, putting his name on the indoor World record.
In the following piece by Justin Lagat, our Kenyan senior writer writes about ALL of the middle distance races. It is important for us to appreciate the running of Jakob Ingebrigtsen and the races that were built around the 1,500m, from 800m to 3000m!
The main highlight of the World Athletics Indoor Tour gold meeting in Lievin was definitely Jakob Ingebrigtsen running a world indoor record in the men’s 1500m. Tucked behind two pacesetters in the early stages of the race, Ingebritsen appeared focused on a fast time as the field behind him was strung out into a single file. Ethiopia’s Samuel Tefera followed him closely as though waiting for the right time to strike. But that never happened as Ingebrigtsen rapidly increased the gap on him as they approached the last lap and continued doing so till he crossed the finish line in a new world record of 3:30.60. Tefera who held the previous world record witnessed his record being broken as he came second in 3:33.70 ahead of Ignacio Fontes who took third in 3:37.39.
Tsegay Gudaf’s hopes of setting a new world record in the women’s mile diminished when she fell down early in the race and had to use excess effort to overtake the entire field and regain her position behind the pacemaker. However, she was rewarded with a new meeting record after she won in 4:21.72. Axumawit Embaye finished second in 4:25.30.
There were talks of a possible world record in the men’s 3000m event as well. The race started off fast, but soon the pacesetter was alone at the front before the race turned from a world record chase into a battle for the win among the three Ethiopian protagonists; Selemon Barega, Getnet Wale, and Lamecha Girma. Barega still had the lead at the bell, but Girma would unleash a deadly finishing kick at the home straight to take the win in 7:30.54 moving Barega to second position in 7:30.66. Wale, who was the fastest on paper finished third in 7:30.88.
There was a dramatic finish between Goule Natoya and Halimah Nakaayi in the women’s 800m as Natoya took advantage of her lead to hold off a determined effort by Nakaayi to overtake her. In a new Jamaican record of 1:58.46, Natoya won the race. Nakaayi also registered a Ugandan national indoor record of 1:58.58 in second place. Eglay Nalyanya finished third in 2:00.26, which is a new personal best time for her.
In the last lap of the men’s 800m, Mariano Garcia held off Elliot Giles to win the race in 1:46.29. Giles finished second in 1:46.50.
Kenya’s Abel Kipsang would struggle in the last lap after an early lead in the men’s 2000m race, as Samuel Zeleke came to overtake him almost at the finish line to win in 4:57.00 against Kipsang’s 4:57.21.
Earlier on in the evening, Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum had run the fourth-fastest time in history to win the women’s 3000m event where she led two other Ethiopians to a 1-2-3 podium finish. The world indoor silver medalist clocked 8:23.24 ahead of Taye who finished second in a new personal best time of 8:26.77 and Fantu Worku made it an Ethiopian 1-2-3, clocking 8:38.15 for third place.