Five days after losing to Jake Wightman in the metric mile, the Norwegian destroys his rivals in the 5000m at the World Champs in Eugene
After winning the Olympic 1500m title last year and establishing himself as the alpha male of men’s middle-distance running, Jakob Ingebrigtsen was stung by defeat earlier in these championships when Jake Wightman beat him to gold. Clearly disgruntled by losing, the 21-year-old Norwegian looked keen to make amends in the 5000m final on Sunday (July 24).
So it proved as he blew away a strong field that included world 5000m record-holder and world 10,000m champion Joshua Cheptegei to win in 13:09.24. After starting slowly, Ingebrigtsen began to assert himself at the front with one kilometre to go and on the last lap as his rivals began to queue up on his shoulder he treated them with near-contempt as he glided away almost effortlessly by lengthening his stride coming into the home straight.
Kenya’s Jacob Krop took silver in 13:09.98, while Uganda’s Oscar Chelimo earned bronze in 13:10.20, a season’s best. US hope Grant Fisher had been third coming into the final straight but faded to sixth.
Cheptegei was ninth, the Olympic 10,000m champion Selemon Barega was 12th, reigning champion Muktar Edris was 13th and Britain’s Marc Scott, who is clearly not at his best in Eugene this week, was 14th in an underpar 13:41.04.
Amazingly this was Ingebrigtsen’s first world title despite having five attempts to win gold over three separate championships. In Doha three years ago he faded in the home straight to finish fifth – ironically one place ahead of Krop – but this time he was too strong as he ran his final two laps in 1:52.78 and his last lap in 53.9.
He even had time to showboat in the closing metres as he waved to the crowd. During the race he had had veered toward the outside lanes a couple of times in the early laps to get some water too.
“It feels amazing to win this gold,” said Ingebrigtsen. “This is already my fifth attempt to become a world champion outdoors and my third World Championships. So finally, I became the world champion. Considering what happened on Tuesday, I’m very happy indeed.”
Interestingly he said he felt he was in sub-3:28 shape for 1500m and wish he’d set a harder pace against Wightman. But he admitted: “I’ve always been a better 5km runner. But that’s mostly due to my training. My strength is my running strength. It takes more for me to go down to 1500m as I need to do more at that specific pace but then it’s easier for me to go up in distance back to 5000m.”
How did he manage to win the 5000m after his 1500m defeat? “I didn’t leave the door open today,” he said.
He also revealed that his next race would probably be the European Championships in Munich. On records and medals he said simply: “I’m chasing everything.”
And he showed his appetite for racing when he suggested he would have run the 10,000m “tomorrow” and the steeplechase “the day after that” if the timetable allowed it!
“If it’s possible to do more then I’m going to do more. But this is down to people who put together the schedule,” he said, hinting toward an unprecedented treble or even quadruple title bid in 2023.
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