Tokyo Olympics: Jakob Ingebrigtsen delivers family gold in 1500m as Britain’s Josh Kerr takes bronze
A minute or so after winning an Olympic 1500m final, Jakob Ingebrigtsen was still running. It is all he’s ever known, growing up under the tutelage of his father’s intense training regime with his six siblings, a unique physiological experiment which reached its emphatic conclusion in Tokyo with dominant gold and an Olympic record of 3min 28.32sec.
The 20-year-old Norwegian has spent a decade preparing for this moment, and he delivered on his prodigious talent with a flourish, powering around the world champion Timothy Cheruiyot on the final bend before bouncing on to his victory lap like he could run another. Cheruiyot held on for silver in 3:29.01 and Britain’s Josh Kerr took a brilliant bronze in 3:29.05.
It is 33 years since Britain have won a men’s Olympic 1500m medal; the 23-year-old Scot had talked the talk before the Games, insisting he was coming for gold, and although he fell short of that ambitious target his first medal on the global stage hints at a special future.
Kerr has done things his own way, basing himself in America working with the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts project. In May he ran a competitive 800m and 5k “to have both ends covered” before focusing on 1500m and altitude training. He said his entire life was geared towards running a personal best sub-3:30 in the Olympic final – in the end he almost broke 3:29.
“I had this weird confidence in myself,” said Kerr. “Some people might call it cockiness, but when you put the work in and when you’re surrounded by my team – you can’t not feel confident every step of the way. My US visa says I’m an entertainer, so I feel I just need to live up to that to be honest.”
Ingebrigtsen ran a hard first 400m in 56.2sec, before Cheruiyot took over and kept the pace high. Britain’s Jake Wightman was one of those who began to slide backwards as the pace intensified further and a strong Kerr passed his teammate at the bell as the pack stretched.
But Ingebrigtsen always looked in control, with the air of a man who could choose his moment. He did it with 150m to go and then stretched away, while behind him Kerr passed Kenya’s Abel Kipsang and would have hunted down Cheruiyot’s silver medal too had the road been a couple of metres longer.
More to follow…
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