Jakob Ingebrigtsen is aiming to make history in Aarhus
It has been 25 years since a European athlete last finished in the top 10 in the U20 men’s race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships. The last individual medallist – a gold one at that – from Europe came 10 years before that.
But Jakob Ingebrigtsen could be capable of rewriting both of those statistics when he lines up for the U20 men’s race in Aarhus, Denmark.
The 18-year-old Norwegian caused a stir last year when he won the 1500m and 5000m at the senior European Championships in Berlin, setting a continental U20 record of 13:17.06 in the latter. One month prior he had set a European U20 1500m record of 3:31.18 in Monaco.
After winning his third consecutive European U20 cross-country title in December, he beat world indoor record-holder Samuel Tefera over 1500m in Dusseldorf in February and went on to win 3000m gold and 1500m silver at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow.
Ingebrigtsen boasts the fastest track PBs of the field and has considerably more international racing experience. But he has never raced farther than 6.3km and could become something of a target if some of the stronger nations utilise team tactics.
All 39 individual medals on offer in the U20 men's race from the past 13 editions have been shared between Kenya (23), Ethiopia (10) and Uganda (6). The same three nations once again look poised to battle it out for individual and team medals.
Unsurprisingly, the Kenyan team appears to be the strongest. Led by national U20 cross-country champion Samuel Chebolei, the team also includes Commonwealth Youth Games 3000m champion Edwin Kiplangat Bett, who finished eighth in the U20 men’s race two years ago in Kampala, and Leonard Bett, the world U18 steeplechase champion.
posted Friday March 29th