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Posted: June 16, 2023:  

(RRW) Athletics: At Oslo Diamond League, Ingebrigtsen Delivers Again

From David Monti, @d9monti
© 2022 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved.

NOTE: This story was written remotely --Ed.

(15-Jun) -- Just six days after setting a new world best for two miles, Norway's Jakob Ingebrigtsen came roaring back at tonight's Bislett Games in Oslo, setting a new meeting and European Athletics 1500m record of 3:27.95. The Nike-sponsored athlete pulled away from his last rival, Spain's Mohamed Katir, as he came out of the final bend to become the sixth-fastest 1500m runner in history. The home crowd roared in approval.

PHOTO: Jakob Ingebrigtsen after setting a meeting record 3:27.95 for 1500m at the Bislett Games in Oslo (photo by Thomas Windestam for Diamond League AG)

"The race went as expected, running by myself as usual and the crowd was amazing," Ingebrigtsen said in the mixed zone. "It was amazing to perform this way in front of my home crowd, it's a dream come true. I won it last year but this year running in my main event is an incredible experience."

Unlike in Paris last Friday where meeting organizers set up his race for a world best attempt, the WaveLight system tonight was programmed to guide the athletes to Hicham El Guerrouj's 1998 meeting record of 3:29.12. Behind pacemakers Mounir Akbache of France and Boaz Kiprugut of Kenya, Ingebrigtsen got off to a fast start with a 55.5-second opening 400-meter split. Kenya's Timothy Cheruiyot, America's Yared Nuguse, and Australia's Oliver Hoare were close behind. Things slowed slightly for the next 400 meters (56.3), and after both Akbache and Kiprugut had left the track Ingebrigtsen took over at the front and refused to let the pace sag. He ran the third 400-meter segment in 55.3, and as he came into the final bend his lead over the talented Katir began to widen. In the end, Katir would have to settle for second in a season's best 3:28.89 as Ingebrigtsen simply ran away from the Spaniard in the final 150 meters.

"I know that I was able to run fast like in Paris; that's what it's all about," Ingebrigtsen said. He added: "I 100% have more left in me. It's all about consistency and delivering good performances in all of the races. I've done it before and we have it all under control. I just have to keep focused on each race ahead in the build up to Budapest, where it really matters."

Remarkably, a total of eight men broke 3:30. Nuguse, who finished second in 3:29.02, set a new North American record and Cheruiyot, the 2019 World Athletics 1500m champion, got a season's best 3:29.08. Spain's Mario Garcia Romo, who trains with Nuguse and Hoare under coach Dathan Ritzenhein at the On Athletics Club in Boulder, Colo., rounded out the top-5 in a personal best 3:29.18. Hoare, who finished seventh in 3:29.41, set an Oceania record.

There were also fast times in the women's Dream Mile which was contested earlier. Ethiopian teenager Birke Haylom, whose stated age is just 17, did not falter off of a fast early pace. She held off a homestretch charge by American Cory McGee and Australian Jessica Hull to run a world-leading 4:17.13. Her mark was also a meeting record and a World Athletics U20 record. McGee, who just edged Hull in the final sprint, 4:18.11 to 4:18.24, became the third-fastest American of all-time (outdoors) behind only Mary Slaney and Jenny Simpson.

"I haven't run a mile in a couple of years so it was awesome, and that was my best Diamond League finish by a few places so I'm happy," said McGee who represents New Balance and trains under coach Joe Bosshard in Boulder. "It all came together, each race is improving step by step so I'm feeling really good right now. It's such a loud, vibrant stadium; that definitely helped."

Hull's mark was an Oceania record. American Nikki Hiltz got fourth in a personal best 4:18.38; for Hiltz it was the athlete's first Diamond League appearance.

Also on tonight's distance program was a sizzling men's 5000 where yet another meeting record was set. But more importantly, the crowd at Bislett Stadion got to see a terrific final sprint between Uganda's Jacob Kiplimo, the reigning World Athletics cross country champion, and Ethiopia's Yomif Kejelcha, twice the World Athletics indoor 3000m champion. The two men had broken away from the field on the back of a 58.5-second penultimate lap, and coming down the backstretch for the final time Kiplimo stayed right on the heels of the much taller Kejelcha who looked back several times. As they rounded the final bend, Kiplimo moved outside, drew even with his rival and it was a drag race from there to the line. The two men both dipped at the finish, and the Omega timing system clocked both in 12:41.73. However, the official finish photo gave Kejelcha a slight margin and he was declared the winner. The pair ran the final 1600m in 3:54.3, essentially a 3:55.6 mile.

"It was always my dream to win this event," said Kejelcha, who represents adidas. "Now, my next dream is Monaco, and then to become an Olympic champion one day."

Down the finish order, Ethiopia's Telahun Haile Bekele got third in a personal best 12:46.21, America's Joe Klecker was fourth in 12:56.59, and Guatemala's Luis Grijalva took fifth in 12:56.63. Including an indoor race in January, Klecker has broken 12:57 three times this year.

In the other distance event tonight, the women's 3000m, Norway's Karoline Bjerkeli GrÝvdal failed to start, but the fans got to see a high-quality race won by Kenya's reigning World Athletics cross country champion Beatrice Chebet in a meeting record and world-leading 8:25.01. Her compatriots, Lilian Rengeruk and Margaret Kipkemboi, took second and third, respectively, in 8:25.90 and 8:26.14. Americans Alicia Monson and Weini Kelati took fourth and fifth in 8:29.43 and 8:32.50. Kelati set a personal best.

"The race was not easy but I had to believe in myself," said Chebet, who represents Nike. "As you know, we are preparing for the World Championships. I will try for my best and I will run 5000m. My goal is to go there and to bring a medal to my country. That is my main target now."

After tonight's meeting there will be a pause in the Wanda Diamond League to allow space for the European Team Championships next weekend in Silesia, Poland, and the next meeting will be Athletissima in Lausanne on June 30.

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