Teenage sensation trumps his two brothers to win 1,500m title
Jakob Ingebrigtsen beat off his siblings Filip and Henrik among others in Berlin
Norway’s Henrik Ingebrigtsen, Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Filip Ingebrigtsen celebrate after the men’s 1500m final race during the European Athletics Championships at the Olympic stadium in Berlin. Photo: Andrej Isakovic/Getty Images
They don’t call them the incredible Ingebrigtsens for nothing. Rarely if ever will three brothers contest a European 1,500 metres final, and as if to prove just how good they are, the youngest of them went out and beat the entire lot.
At just 17, Jakob Ingebrigtsen was expected to bow to his older siblings, only to show them exactly how it’s done – sitting right at the back, before hitting the front with two laps to go and then defy his years and experience all the way to finish, winning in 3:38.10. The youngest ever winner of this title, naturally.
Defending champion Filip, 25, and Henrik, at 27 and the 2012 champion, were right on his heels, but couldn’t last the distance this time; Marcin Lewandowski from Poland closed up fast to take second in 3:38.14, with Britain’s Jake Wightman winning bronze in 3:38.25, just ahead Henrik.
Incredibly, it means the three brothers have now each won this European 1,500 title, helping to prove as well that the old blue-ribbon event still hasn’t lost all of its lust.
“We’re all much the same, have the same tactics, and we’re all around the same level,” said Jakob, still in school in Sandness, south of Stavanger, where all three brothers still live and are coached by their father Gjert, and known as Team Ingebrigtsen.
“It’s a big deal to try get three pieces on the podium, in percentage, that chance is very, very, very low,” Jakob said. Over the three and three-quarter laps, they set aside sibling rivalry it seemed, sitting one, two and three after 800: impossible as it seemed, Jakob’s boldest tactics paid off – the teenager coming off the back of a demanding schedule at the World under-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland where he picked up a silver medal in the 1,500m and bronze in the 5,000m.
Henrik’s personal record is unique too: gold in 2012, silver in 2014, bronze in 2016, and now a fourth place.
Fellow Norwegian Karsten Warholm was looking to prove superhero status on another level: win the 400m flat just over 24 hours after winning the 400m hurdles on Thursday night, where Thomas Barr won bronze.
Warholm certainly went for it, flying down the backstretch as if wearing a cape, before slowing slipping into a sea of lactic acid. Britain’s Matthew Hudson-Smith was running a far more even race two lanes inside him, and eased through for gold in 44.78 seconds – still, despite some hope, a long way off the European record of 44.33 set by the East German Tomas Schonlebe back in 1987.
The Borlee brothers from Belgium, Kevin in second (45.13), Jonathan in third (45.19), turned back the clock on their careers to make the medal podium. For Warholm it felt like clock would.