Team Ingebrigtsen Want to Beat the Best in 2019

Yesterday two of the Ingebrigtsen brothers kicked off their 2019 seasons properly. Jakob and Filip both competed in the 1500m in Düsseldorf, the closing event of the IAAF 2019 World Indoor Tour. This time, it was the youngest brother Jakob, only 18 years old, who stole the headlines.

The younger Ingebrigtsen brother won the race after leaving his brother with around 400 metres to go, to close down a gap to Samuel Tefera and outsprinting the Ethiopian on the home stretch to take the win. Tefera, as avid readers will be well aware of, is no slouch. He is the reigning indoor world champion in the event, and just recently claimed the indoor world record. Filip couldn’t match his brother and the Ethiopian, but showed decent form and finished third. Watch the full race in the video below.

Reactions After the Race

After winning the race with a time of 3:36.02, which is a new indoor world record for juniors, Jakob Ingebrigtsen is feeling confident. Speaking to the Norwegian broadcaster TV2, he said about the race:

I felt really good. It is always a little hard to get going when I start at zero and get up to that speed, but I felt great, and better and better as the race progressed. And we saw what happened on the home straight.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen

Even with the winning time being a new junior WR, the race was slow in comparison to Tefera’s new world record of 3:31.04. Quizzed about whether he could have run even faster, Jakob Ingebrigtsen told the IAAF:

I ran 3:36 a couple of weeks ago, and now I’m in better shape than in that race. So obviously I could have run a few seconds faster, but today it was all about winning.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen

Jakob Ingebrigtsen Ready to Compete With the Best?

Father and coach to the 18-year old, Gjert Ingebrigtsen, is convinced that his son will continue his progression throughout the season ahead. Speaking to TV2 about the takeaways from this race, he said:

Jakob has placed himself among the favourites for the indoor Euro Championships, as well as the Diamond League and the World Championships if he can keep up the pressure throughout the year. He is at the same level as the best in the world. I believe Jakob will be a medal contender at the World Championships in Doha.

Gjert Ingebrigtsen
Filip and Jakob Ingebrigtsen pictured with Samuel Tefera
Jakob Ingebrigtsen, in the middle, beat his brother Filip and world record holder Samuel Tefera.

The main character himself told Aftenposten that the time he and his brother are measuring themselves against is the current world record of 3:26.00 set by Hicham El Guerrouj back in 1996. And he is in no two minds as to what the ultimate goal is:

It (becoming a world champion) is a natural goal, but no certainty. It is my motivation and driving force. Getting there is a tedious and tiresome effort, with a lot of hard work to be done, and there is nothing else than becoming the world’s best that is the motivation.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen

Filip Ingebrigtsen Optimistic About the Upcoming Season

Through much of last year, it was Filip who was fastest of the three running brothers. After taking a tumble in the qualifying heat, he struggled with the repercussions in the 1500m final of the 2018 Euro Championships and had to sit out the 5000m. His younger brother won both, but few would have bet against a fully fit Filip in the 1500m.

Yesterday, it looked like his fitness was a bit behind that of his younger at the moment. Gjert Ingebrigtsen, however, was pleased with what Filip showed in the race, and said to Aftenposten:

Filip’s not really an indoor runner. It doesn’t suit his musculature, but we’ve now found a setup that works well enough for him as well.

Gjert Ingebrigtsen

Filip Ingebrigtsen was happy with the race and felt it was a good lead up to the indoor European Championships coming up in a couple of weeks. Speaking to TV2, he also reaffirmed what his father said about his indoor running:

My body isn’t friends with running indoors, but it gets better and better for each race. I am quite pleased, and I know it will get better for each time.

Filip Ingebrigtsen

Team Ingebrigtsen Looking to Challenge the African Dominance

Much like his younger brother, he was clear that the ambition is to compete with the very best. They want to challenge the notion that it’s impossible for someone from outside of Africa to reach the top of middle distance running:

Much of the motivation for doing this is to crush the truth that white people can’t run, let alone compete with the best Africans. Beating the best is a tall order. They should feel it when there is an Ingebrigtsen at the start line, and know that they can’t just play their way to victory.

Filip Ingebrigtsen

Gjert Ingebrigtsen feels that it is vital for the future of the sport that runners from around the world step up to challenge the African dominance. Otherwise, he fears, the interest in running will diminish. Speaking to TV2:

They (Africans) have dominated middle- and long distance running for far too long. The future of international athletics depends on someone coming up and showing strength while competing against the Africans. We will try to do that. I hope we get a cobble of Europeans because we have to balance it to maintain the interest in the rest of the world. If not the interest for track and field, and running especially, disappears.

Gjert Ingebrigtsen

Where is Henrik Ingebrigtsen?

The elder of the three running brothers of the Ingebrigtsen family, Henrik, was missing in action yesterday. Originally slated to run, he pulled out from the meet the day before it took place. Speaking to TV2, his father downplayed the significance of Henrik’s absence:

He is not ill, so there is nothing wrong with Henrik. After becoming a father for the second time, he has a total load that is a little higher than what is the case for his brothers. He is training with an aim to get in shape for the indoor European Championships two weeks from now.

Gjert Ingebrigtsen

After struggling with injuries through most of 2016 and 2017, Henrik has found it difficult to get back to old heights in the 1500m. While his brothers have taken steps in the direction of competing with the best in the world, Henrik has struggled to keep up, both in training and in competitions. Instead, he focused mainly on the 5000 metres event throughout 2018.

Henrik and Filip Ingebrigtsen
Henrik (pictured with sunglasses) has found it hard rediscover his top form in the middle distance.

European Athletics announced the Norwegian team for the indoor European Championships today. As it turns out, Henrik will not compete against his brothers in the 1500m. Instead, he will dedicate his full attention to the 3000m.

Does this signify a permanent shift in priorities for the trailblazer of Team Ingebrigtsen? Or will we see him return to former heights, and once more compete with his brothers and the best of the world in the 1500m? Only time will tell. However, one this is for sure: His brothers won’t make it easy for him to reclaim the family best in the distance.

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