“It’s completely tragic,” repeated the 19-year-old Jakob Ingebrigtsen again and again after he placed fourth in the men’s 1500-meter race at the World Championships in Qatar on Sunday night. While many his age would be thrilled to have even made it to the finals, Ingebrigtsen was anything but.
“I am extremely disappointed,” he told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) just after the race that was dominated by Timothy Cheruiyot of Kenya, who was so far in front of the others that they were only competing against each other. When it was all over, Cheruiyot’s fellow Kenyan Taoufik Makhloufi was second and Macin Lewandowsi of Poland was third.
There was no medal for Ingebrigtsen, the youngest of Norway’s Ingebrigtsen brothers who had also all competed in the gruelling 5,000-meter race just a few days ago and failed to place. Rivals questioned why they had done so, suggesting before Sunday night’s final began that Jakob (the only Ingebrigtsen who made it to the 1500-meter final) “must be exhausted” after the 5000-meter. If all had gone well, however, they’d had the chance of making history.
‘Just so sad’
Instead Filip Ingebrigtsen failed to qualify for the final on Friday, ending up 7th in the semi-final that was hyped so much in Norway that NRK had delayed its nightly national newscast by 25 minutes just to accommodate it. It was all left to Jakob to restore the family’s honour, and he failed to do so, ending up with a time of three minutes, 31.70 seconds.
“This is one of the worst things I’ve been involved in,” continued Jakob in his diatribe on NRK. He claimed he’d lost “against folks I should have beat,” adding that he wished “I could stand here and prove that the others were worse than me.” He concluded by saying he was “just so sad about the result.”
For more on the Ingebrigtsen brothers as an international phenomenon, read Norwegian researchers’ view on them (external link).
Jakob’s coach and father Gjert Ingebrigtsen, who never passes up an opportunity to offer his opinion, said later that his son’s outburst was simply a result of his own disappointment. The elder Ingebrigtsen, not known for handing out compliments to his own sons, countered that Jakob’s race “was a fantastic presentation. He (Jakob) just has higher ambitions, and he should have.”
The World Championships in Qatar thus ended for Norway with just one medal, the gold won by Karsten Warholm in the 400-meter hurdles. Rivals suggested the Ingebrigtsen brothers made a mistake by also taking part in the 5,000-meter race last week that none won and could have cost them Filip’s and Jakob’s strength in the end.
In fact, Cheruiyot took command of the men’s 1,500-meter race from the very beginning and was far out in front of the other 11 competing. He won with a time of 3:29.26. Filip told NRK that his younger brother “isn’t satisfied with anything. But he was very close.”