Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway in the men's 1500m

ISTANBUL, March 2 – Reigning champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen and world leader progressed through the 1500m heats with ease on Day 1 at the Istanbul 2023 European Athletics Indoor Championships held at the Atakoy Arena on Thursday.

Ingebrigtsen, who is seeking to retain the 1500m and 3000m titles, in addition to chasing his third consecutive European Indoor gold medal in the 3000, held back during the opening parts of the 1500m race here today before enventually securing the third automatic qualifying place in his heat –won by France’s Azeddine Habz and was directly followed by Britain’s George Mills.

The Norwegian, who has a season’s best 3:32.38 from Lievin on 15 February, said: “The pace was slow and I love to believe that I contributed to it!”

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Although he has only competed in one race this year after being out for more than a month due to a virus, Ingebrigtsen clocked 3:50.29 and looked comfortable in doing so behind Habz, who won in a time of 3:49.88, while Mills ran 3:50.01 for second place.

“The race was an easy one. I wanted to save as much energy as I could,” he said.

His likely main rival, Neil Gourley, won the third heat with the fastest time of the evening at 3:41.08 and was followed home in the heat by Jesús Gomez at 3:41.26 for the second-fastest time, while Italian Ossama Meslek (3:41.34) was third in the same heat with the third best time overall.

Meanwhile, the second heat was won by Italy’s Pietro Arese in 3:43.97, the same time as Poland’s Michał Rozmys in second place and Ismael Debjani of Belgium at 3:44.00.

Among the notable non-qualifiers were Germany’s two-time national champion Amos Bartelsmeyer, who ran 3:34.72 and 3:39.90 last month, as well as Andrew Coscoran, the Ireland record holder who set a new national mark of 3:33.49 in Birmingham on Saturday.

Coscoran clocked 3:44.11 for fourth in heat two, while Bartelsmeyer finished fifth at 3:44.31 in the same section.

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