Father scolds the Ingebrigtsens

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Norway’s highly self-confident Ingebrigtsen brothers all made it into the finals of the 1,500-meter race at the European Championships on Wednesday, but their coach and father wasn’t entirely pleased. He said his three sons need to become “less cocky.”

Filip Ingebrigtsen put on a powerful performance Wednesday when he qualified for the 1,500-meter final at the European Championships in Berlin, even after falling and suffering a deep cut on his leg. His father worried he was a bit too “cocky” though. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

Gjert Ingebrigtsen was glad his sons Henrik (age 27), Filip (25) and Jakob (17) all ran fast and qualified for the 1,500-meter final, not least after Filip fell and sustained a cut on his leg that the senior Ingebrigtsen said “went all the way to the bone” and required several stitches. Filip said later that he thinks he hit a speaker near the track.

The senior Ingebrigtsen didn’t, however, like the way Filip, who’s been called a “bully” on the track before, celebrated his achievement. He was perhaps a bit too glad, according to Ingebrigtsen, as he pranced around and flexed his muscles. He father stopped just short of calling his son “childish,” in a reference to how Norway’s “bad-boy” skier Petter Northug famously sashayed over the finish line after winning a major race himself.

The three Ingebrightsens could expect a lecture from the man who’s been pushing them for years. “I’ll take this up with them,” he told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “We must be a little less cocky. It wasn’t that he (Filip) was so cocky, but it can so easily be interpreted as such when first Henrik comes and is interviewed at the stadium, and then Filip comes and is interviewed, and then Jakob comes and is interviewed, and the other kind of pull away. It’s clear we need to be careful not be be seen as too high on ourselves. It’s allowed to feel like that, but we need to have some respect for our competitors.”

When the brothers were competing earlier on the US West Coast they openly admitted to Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten that “they don’t like us here.” Now all three Ingebrigtsen brothers are medal favourites in the European Championships, and competing against each other, also in the 5,000-meter race.

Henrik and Jakob controlled themselves and ran solidly to qualifying spots in Wednesday’s semi-final. It was more dramatic for Filip, after he fell in a clinch, quickly recovered and qualified as well. He dad doesn’t think the cut and stitches will affect him much in the final itself, scheduled for Friday evening.

Filip has been widely viewed as the strongest candidate for the gold medal after winning bronze in last year’s World Championships. He told Aftenposten earlier this week that he likes being the favourite: “I’ve never been in this position before. I have always been the challenger and lived well with that, but I must say I like being the favourite.” When asked why, he quickly responded “Because I’m best. There’s a reason I’ve been the year’s best in Europe. I deserve being the favourite and am very satisfied that I have put myself in this position.”

“But on paper, there are others who are good enough to win, like the British who are here,” his father Gjert Ingebrigtsen told NRK. He wants his sons to remember that.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund