Aged 16, Jakob Ingebrigtsen is ready for the senior Athletics World Championship in London

Jakob Ingebrigtsen from NorwayJakob Ingebrigtsen from Norway.Photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB scanpix

At the age of 16, Jakob Ingebrigtsen has become a great symbol of athletics. In less than two weeks, he will be on the starting blocks at the senior Athletics World Championship.

 

It wasn’t really the plan that the youngest of the Ingebrigtsen brothers would participate in this year’s World Championship in London. Everything changed after he recently surprised many people by running very well during World Championship qualifiers in his debut at the 3000 meters hurdles.

In the same race, the young lad from Sandnes set the European Junior record with a time of 8:26:81. On Sunday, he also ran a superb race, taking gold at the ‘Under 20’ European Championships (U20-EM) in Italy. The following day, a confirmation from the Norwegian Athletics Union (Norges Friidrettsforbund – NFIF) came through, that Jakob Ingebrigtsen is a part of the Norwegian World Championship athletics squad.

‘It’s clear that it is special. 16 years old is young, but at the same time he lives in a top-notch environment, with a father who has ten years of experience as a coach. He also has two older brothers who’ve been competing internationally for several years now. As such, he is older in competition terms than age 16’, said NFIF chief, Håvard Tjørhom, to NTB news agency.

Recognised

It will be a big transition from the U20-EM to a senior World Championship in the Uk’s capital city of London.

‘We will be in close dialogue with both Jakob and Gjert (his father, and trainer). Even though he is only 16, he’s been in the spotlight already. He is used to gaining a lot of attention, and he experienced it most recently in the U20-EM, both on and off the track.

He was recognised by a restaurant owner when he tried to get away for dinner. He is used to it’, Tjørhom pointed out, adding, ‘It’ll be a championship where you don’t stay at the locality for very long in advance. The idea is to travel two days before competing. It won’t be a championship where he travels far and stays for a long time.

I also know that there are others from his family who’ll go there, so he will have many friendly faces around him. He actually has more peo ple who are close to him around him in the World Championships than in some other places he competes.’

Dad, Gjert Ingebrigtsen, recently said that his son is joining the London World Championship team mostly for the learning experience.

‘We’ll sit down and lay a plan before we travel. It’s not a question of having ambitions toward a specific goal, but to gain experience, and learn from being in the World Championship’, he told NTB news agency last week.

Unique

This weekend, Jakob Ingebrigtsen dominated the U20 championship in the Italian city of Grosseto. He took two of three possible gold medals, and he might quickly have taken an EM triple if he hadn’t fallen at the second to last turn of the 1500 meters race.

‘He would have had good opportunities if it hadn’t been for the fall. In addition, he was superb against competitors who were all older than him. It’s completely unique. Both Jacob and his father must be congratulated. An offensive plan was set into action. At the same time, I think they are drawing lessons from what happened during the 1500 meters, but there are small margins of error’, said Tjørhom.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen starts the World Championship with a qualification 3000 meters hurdles race on Sunday, August the 6th. The final will be two days later.

His older brother, Filip Ingebrigtsen, will also compete in London. The 24-year-old will compete in the 1500 meters. He’s shown solid performances in races in the Diamond League this season, most recently with a fourth place in Monaco.

‘Filip has shown a very fine form curve, and the World Championship has been his main goal for peaking. In Monaco, on his last outing, he felt very strong. He’s gained more international experience since the same time last year. It’ll be very exciting to see him in the World Championship,’ said Tjørhom.

© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today

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