INGEBRIGTSEN NEARLY BREAKS EUROPEAN MILE RECORD AT BISLESS GAMES
By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2022 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with permission.
(16-Jun) — Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the reigning Olympic 1500m champion, came within a meter of breaking Steve Cram’s vaunted European mile record tonight at the Bislett Games in Oslo, the sixth stop of the 2022 Wanda Diamond League.
Sprinting to near-collapse in the homestretch with Australia’s Ollie H o a re just a few meters behind, the 21 year-old Ingebrigtsen stopped the clock at 3:46.46, just 14/100ths of a second slower than Cram’s time from the same meeting 37 years ago. The time made him the sixth-fastest miler in history, and Cram watched from the stands where he was commentating on the meeting for television.
“It felt great,” Ingebrigtsen said in the mixed zone at Bislett Stadium. “I was ready to run fast and was happy to do that and to win. Some work needs to be done before the World Championships but I will work hard to be in better shape for the World Championships.”
On a rainy night which included a heavy downpour during the women’s 5000m, conditions were mostly dry for the Dream Mile, the meeting’s last event. Ingebrigtsen’s two main rivals, H o a re and Scotsman Jake Wightman, were keen to race the Norwegian and were all together through the first quarter behind pacemakers Mounir Akbache of France and Boaz Kiprugut of Kenya. The pace was solid, but not too fast, through 800m: 1:53.3.
With the pacemakers out, Ingebrigtsen took up the pace, and both H o are and Wightman were within a few tenths of the eventual winner through 1000m. Wightman was the first to let go, and finished a clear third in a Scottish record 3:50.30.
H o a re held on as long as he could, but in the final 200 meters Ingebrigtsen was able to pull away from the tall Australian who competed for the University of Wisconsin in the NCAA system. Nonetheless, H o are set an Australian and Oceania record of 3:47.48.
Ingebrigtsen’s time was a Wanda Diamond League record.
“It was an awesome crowd so now I will prepare myself well for Eugene,” Ingebrigtsen continued. “Oslo is always perfect and for me, it’s the best meeting in the world so it was awesome experience.”
In the rain-soaked women’s 5000m, Norway’s Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal took the lead mid-race and taking the field through 3000m in 8:48.65 and 4000m in 11:42.71.
Coming off of a 68.4-second penultimate lap, Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum –who as not selected for the Ethiopian team for the World Athletics Championships– started to wind up the pace and only her compatriots, Guday Tsegay and Letesenbet Gidey, could stay with her.
In the homestretch, Seyaum kicked ahead of her rivals to win in 14:25.84. Tsegay got second in 14:26.69 and Gidey third in 14:26.92. Grøvdal set a national record of 14:31.07 in fourth place, and American Alicia Monson set a ten-second personal best in fifth: 14:31.11. Monson is now the third-fastest American of all-time.
“I can say that I like the rain and it brought me happiness today,” Seyaum said after her race. “It was a tough race with strong opponents and I managed to beat them all.”
The men’s 5000m turned into a last lap burn. At the bell five men remained in contention: Ethiopians Telahun Haile Bekele, Samuel Tefera, Getnet Wale, and Milkesa Mengesha; and American Joe Klecker. Bekele and Tefera edged away, and were together with 200m to go.
Bekele won the final sprint to win in 13:03.51 to Tefera’s 13:04.35. Wale got third (13:04.48), Klecker fourth (13:04.92) and Mengesha fifth (13:05.94). Bekele closed the race with a 56.1-second lap.
“It was a good performance from us to have three Ethiopians in the top three positions and I enjoyed the race,” said Bekele. “I felt strong and am happy with the time.”
Finally, in the women’s 800m Olympic silver medalist Keely Hodgkinson went with the pacemaker from the gun and was never seriously challenged, clocking a season’s best 1:57.71. Laura Muir came from sixth position with 200 meters to go to take second in 1:58.09.
“I was fairly happy but I wanted faster,” Hodgkinson said. “A win is a win, though.”
The Wanda Diamond League moves on to Paris on Saturday before breaking for the national championships window from June 23 through 26.
PHOTO: Jakob Ingebrigtsen wins the 2022 Dream Mile at the Bislett Games in Oslo (photo courtesy of the Wanda Diamond League)