Sport

Norwegian teenager Ingebrigtsen confirms burgeoning talent

Norwegian teenager Jakob Ingebrigtsen has confirmed what has been brewing for a couple of years on the junior and cross-country circuit: a new track star has been born.

First among brothers: Jakob Ingebrigsten (centre) outshines Henrik (left) and Filip
First among brothers: Jakob Ingebrigsten (centre) outshines Henrik (left) and Filip (AFP)

Norwegian teenager Jakob Ingebrigtsen has confirmed what has been brewing for a couple of years on the junior and cross-country circuit: a new track star has been born.

Aged 17 years and 324 days, Ingebrigtsen showed all the class of a gnarly veteran to win Friday's 1500m at the European championships in Berlin.

Not only did he claim gold in 3min 38.10sec, but the teenager also beat his two elder brothers, who remarkably have both also won the European title over 1500m.

"I'm really happy to bring home what's ours!" joked Ingebrigtsen, with eldest brother Henrik having won in 2012 and Filip in 2016.

"WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!" Jakob then tweeted along with emojis of seven gold medals and hands clasped together in prayer.

"#EUROPEANCHAMPION Thanks to everyone who cheered!"

The middle of the Ingebrigtsen trio, current world bronze medallist Filip, had gone into the race at Berlin's packed Olympic Stadium as favourite.

And the moustachioed Henrik on paper had all the major championships experience needed to add to his medal haul.

But that counted for nothing as Jakob, who turns 18 next month and is coached like his siblings by father Gjert, lived up to his billing as one to watch.

The trio insisted pre-race that family tactics would not be used, but they automatically stuck together at the back of the field early on to avoid the pushing and shoving that accompany any 1500m race as runners jockey for position.

Taking charge

Jakob then smoothly led his brothers to the head of a stretched pack and took charge with 700 metres to run.

"I had some tactics before the race to go up front with two laps to go," he admitted.

When the bell rang for the final lap, neither his more experienced siblings nor other rivals took up the front running.

The teenager stuck to his inside line, kicked on and held on through to the line, coming through the line four-hundredths ahead of Poland's fast-finishing Marcin Lewandowski.

"I was obviously expecting someone else to be strong in the last lap and maybe come up from behind," Ingebrigtsen said.

"But I felt really good going into the final 100 metres."

Briton Jake Wightman nipped in front of Henrik Ingebrigtsen for bronze, Filip finishing 12th.

"We're pretty much as good as each other," was the initial reaction of the modest Jakob when asked if he was surprised to have beaten his brothers.

His victory confirms him as a talent who has been on the rise for a number of years, having won cross country and track titles at European level, as well as becoming the youngest athlete to run a sub-four minute mile.

He also holds the European under-20 records for the 1500m, the mile, 3000m steeplechase and 5000m.

And beware Berlin, Ingebrigtsen is slated to go again in the German capital in Saturday's 5000m, again with his two brothers.