WITH BLISTERING CLOSE, INGEBRIGTSEN SUCCESSFULLY DEFENDS WORLD 5000M TITLE
By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2023 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved – Used with permission.
BUDAPEST (27-Aug) — Coming off of his defeat in the 1500m by Britain’s Josh Kerr, Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen was ready to give his all tonight at the National Athletics Center to retain the World Athletics 5000m title he won in Eugene a year ago. Ingebrigtsen, 22, a once in a generation talent who was still feeling some fatigue from the shorter race, didn’t want to waste an ounce of energy.
“I was very tired,” he told the flash quotes team here. “I tried to save my energy to win at the end because that was the only way tonight.”
It literally took everything he had to stop a brutal, last-lap assault by Spain’s Mohamed Katir, the 2022 World Championships 1500m bronze medalist. Fueled by the bitter disappointment of not even making the 1500m final here, Katir rolled through the penultimate lap in a hot 58.6 seconds, before unleashing a full-out, 400-meter sprint for the win. Katir, who has a 1500m personal best of 3:28.76, blasted down the backstretch as the near-capacity crowd roared. Ingebrigtsen, who spent most of the race running in the middle of the pack, passed both Hagos Gebrhiwet and Berihu Aregawi of Ethiopia and began to home in on Katir. He reached the Spaniard’s shoulder in the final bend and the two began a drag race for the ages.
“I knew if my tactics were better than my competitors, I would have a chance to win,” Ingebrigtsen continued. “And that’s what happened.”
But only by the slimmest of margins. The two remained side by side, Katir on the inside and Ingebrigtsen on the outside, right to the line where the Norwegian pushed past his rival by just 14/100ths of a second, 13:11.30 to 13:11.44. The last lap went in a sizzling 52.6 seconds.
“It worked out absolutely perfectly,” Ingebrigtsen said. “It was a very hard run, especially in the last 40 to 50 meters. It was great racing.”
Katir was gracious in defeat.
“Jakob is a great competitor,” Katir told reporters through a translator from the Spanish team. “He’s a great champion. I fight until the last moment to beat him. I tried to do it until the last line, but he was very strong. I respect him a lot, but I will try to beat him next year (at the Olympics).”
Behind the fireworks at the front, Kenya’s Jacob Krop, the silver medalist from Eugene, got the bronze in 13:12.28. He was nearly caught by…