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Ingebrigtsen wins first world title with 5000m gold in Oregon

Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigsten had an Olympic title, but he had never won a World Championships gold medal.

After being upset in the 1500m by Jake Wightman only a few days ago at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22, a world gold still eluded him.

If he wanted to end his drought, he was going to have to topple a star-studded field in the men’s 5000m that included the world record-holder, Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei, who had earned gold over 10,000m earlier in the championships.

But Ingebrigtsen did exactly that, winging up the pace in the final kilometre to win in 13:09.24. Kenya’s Jacob Krop took silver in 13:09.98, while Uganda’s Oscar Chelimo earned bronze in 13:10.20, a season’s best.

Ingebrigtsen spent almost half the race towards the back of the pack and didn't make his move until after the field had covered two kilometres, going from 10th place into fifth. He remained near the front over the next few laps, then he moved into first with 600 metres left.

From then on, he never relinquished the lead. Ingebrigtsen led 11 men through the bell, less than a second spread among them. As the pack strung out and the finalists started to unleash their finishing kick, Ingebrigtsen held off all of them and extended his lead as he neared the line.

The Norwegian could even afford to take a couple of last looks behind him, before flashing a ‘No.1’ gesture to the fans on the homestretch.

“It feels amazing to win this gold,” said Ingebrigtsen. “This is already my fifth attempt to become a world champion outdoors and my third World Championships. So finally, I became the world champion.”

Cheptegei led through the first three laps, but by the halfway mark, he had dropped to eighth. Leading the pack was Kenya’s Nicholas Kipkorir Kimeli and Daniel Simiu Ebenyo, who often took turns at the front early on. In pursuit were Guatemala’s Luis Grijalva, Ingebrigsten and USA’s Grant Fisher.

Through 4000m, just 0.75 separated the top 12. Krop had taken the lead, but the race remained conservative, with no one looking to push the pace, setting the stage for the raucous bell lap.

Ingebrigtsen and Krop passed through the bell first, holding their positions the rest of the way. However, Chelimo was still in ninth, and Fisher was in third, only 0.11 behind the top two. Chelimo remained in eighth until the final 200 metres, where he moved into fifth, still trailing Fisher and Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed.

As the three men came around the curve, with the bronze still up for grabs, Fisher hit the inside rail, causing the American to drop behind. Chelimo took advantage, as did Grijalva, and both men moved ahead. Chelimo’s kick was too strong for either Grijalva or Ahmed to handle, as he edged both men by less than 0.25.

Grijalva finished fourth, achieving the best finish for his country in any event at the World Championships.

“It feels amazing. I have always run a PB in the races,” said Grijalva. “I almost won a medal, the first for Central America.”

Krop said he knew the race would be tactical, but he was ready for it.

“They just made me push on the last lap and attack,” said Krop. “In the end, it looked like everybody wanted to get to the podium. I had my position and when I kicked, I wanted to maintain the spot, but Jakob had a strong kick too.”

For Chelimo, the bronze finish comes after a few disappointing outings recently.

“I had some difficult times in the past years, I was happy last year to qualify in Tokyo, but then I came last so I had to ask why,” said Chelimo. “But my coach told me that I am a champion. He said, ‘forget about the past, just continue racing’.”

 

(07/24/2022) Views: 332 ‚ö°AMP
by Elias Esquivel (World Athletics)
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