By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2022 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved with permission to use
Münich (16-Aug) — Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen continued to show he’s the world’s #1 distance runner here at Olympic Stadium tonight, handily winning the European Athletics Championships 5000m title for the second consecutive time and chalking up his seventh overall European title across all surfaces.
Still just 21 years old, Ingebrigtsen scorched the final 400 meters of his race tonight in 53.8 seconds to beat back a credible challenge from Spain’s Mohamed Katir. The reigning world 5000m champion was clocked in 13:21.13 to Katir’s 13:22.98. Italy’s Yemaneberhan Crippa collected bronze in 13:24.83, moving up from his fourth place finish in Berlin four years ago.
“It feels great to be back and win, it is special,” Ingebrigtsen told the flash quote interviewers working for European Athletics. “It brings back the memories of Berlin.”
Ingebrigtsen used his usual tactic of holding back in the early laps, content to move with the pace of the main pack before speeding up in the final circuits. When his teammate, Narve Gilje Nordas spurted to the front in the first kilometer, Ingebrigtsen did not react. When a pack formed behind Nordas and opened a gap on the pack where Ingebrigtsen was running, he ignored that too. He also avoided a shoving incident at 3400 meters which resulted in France’s Hugo Hay hitting the track hard. Ingebrigtsen deftly took a few steps in the infield and never lost his momentum.
Instead, Ingebrigtsen waited for the 3900 meter mark to pick up the pace down the backstretch and move into the lead at 4000m (10:57.52). He ran that lap in 60.9 seconds, and only Katir and Crippa could stay close. Everything was going to plan.
“Everybody has the expectations and you have to learn how to deal with it,” Ingebrigtsen said. “I believe in myself and I believe in the things I have done before.”
He ran the penultimate lap in 59.7 seconds. That was too fast for Crippa, but Katir stayed right on Ingebrigtsen’s heels. Indeed the Spaniard was just off the Norwegian’s shoulder coming out of the final bend and it was in the homestretch that Ingebrigtsen built his winning margin.
“I felt strong in the last lap, and went for it,” said Katir. “To be honest, I am pleased with the silver medal, especially because it is my first medal at European level.”
Ingebrigtsen will race again on Thursday for the 1500m title. He is also the defending champion in that discipline.
In women’s 1500m qualifying during the morning session, there were few surprises. Britain’s Laura Muir won the first of two heats with authority, spending the first lap at the back, before zipping to the lead at the 700-meter mark and continuing on to win in 4:06.40. Only Italy’s Ludovica Cavalli could stay with her in the homestretch, taking second in 4:06.59. Sweden’s Hanna Hermansson (4:07.08) and Germany’s Katharina Trost (4:07.20) took third and fourth, respectively, and grabbed the other two automatic qualifying spots. Spain’s Marta Perez, who had legitimate hopes for the final, did not advance, finishing 7/100ths of a second behind Trost.
“It’s really exciting to have another championship,” said Muir who won bronze in the 1500m at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene and gold at the Commonwealth Games in the same discipline earlier this summer. “So, I hope it goes as well as the other two.”
Ireland’s Ciara Mageean controlled the second heat with Romania’s Claudia Bobocea. The two women led with a lap to go in a fast 1100m split of 3:00.50, but it was Poland’s Sofia Ennaoui who surged away from the field in the final 150 meters to take the win in 4:02.73 (Mageean got second in 4:03.03). Ennaoui, 26, is a much more mature athlete than in 2018 when these championships were last held in Berlin when she won the silver medal. She finished fifth in the World Athletics Championships in Eugene last month. She could definitely challenge Muir for the gold.
“This is four years later so that’s why I’m feeling better right now because I’m older,” Ennaoui told Race Results Weekly in English. “I have so many more knowledge about athletics, about tactics in athletics, so that’s why I’m looking like this. I know myself better right now.”
With the fast times in the second heat, there were no time qualifiers out of heat one. Britain’s Ellie Baker was the final time qualifier with a personal best 4:04.90. The final will be held on Friday night.
There was a bitter-sweet moment in the men’s steeplechase qualifying this morning. Denmark’s Axel Vang Christensen, who is just 18, was leading the first of two heats through 2000m and looked to be on his way to advancing to the final. But when he approached the barrier at the beginning of the backstretch, he clipped it on the way over and fell hard to the track. The rest of the field kept going, except for Andora’s Nahuel Carabaña who stopped to check on the young Dane. He tried to pull him to his feet, but when Christensen did not respond, he grabbed the young athlete fireman-style under his arms and dragged him out to lane 6. Medical staff took over from there and Christensen was wheeled off the track on a stretcher.
“No fracture, just a blow to my knee,” Christensen wrote on his Instagram account. ” I won’t be running the next few days, but you can be sure that I will cheer as much as possible for (Denmark).”
Interestingly, Carabaña re-started the race and finished last in 9:37.74. The crowd gave him a standing ovation for his sportsmanship.
“He could have been injured more seriously,” said Carabaña, who also told the Danish media that he wasn’t in great shape. He added: “Maybe I can do something good today, I thought. That’s why I made the decision.”
The athletes with good medal chances –like Italy’s Ahmed Abdelwahed and Osama Zoghlami, Finland’s Topi Raitanen, and Britain’s Phil Norman– advanced while some presumed finalists, like Jamaine Coleman of Britain and Mehdi Belhadj of France, did not. None of the three medalists from Berlin four years ago –Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad of France, Fernando Carro of Spain and Yohanes Chiappinelli of Italy– are competing this year. The final takes place on Friday.