One of the most mouth-watering events of these Tokyo Games did not disappoint. Jakob Ingebrigtsen followed the red-hot pace set by world champion Timothy Cheruiyot before out-kicking the Kenyan to win his first global title in an Olympic and European record of 3:28.32.
In third, Josh Kerr became the first British medallist in this event since Peter Elliott in 1988 as he finished strongly to clock 3:29.05 just ahead of Kenya’s Abel Kipsang, who also broke 3:30 with 3:29.56.
Ingebrigtsen’s athletics journey famously began when he started training with an unusual degree of intensity with his older brothers, Henrik and Filip, in Norway. Many thought he would burn, but he just keeps getting better and the latest peak arrived on Saturday evening in Tokyo when he won one of the blue ribbon events of the Games.
Still only 20, Ingebrigtsen’s recent build-up was a little inconsistent. After a brilliant European 5000m record of 12:48.45 and victory in Florence in June, he suffered illness, dropped out of one or two races and was only third in the 1500m in Monaco a month before the Olympics.
But in Tokyo he was back to full fitness and powered past the fearsomely strong Cheruiyot coming into the home straight to win by 69 hundredths of a second.
“I’ve been able to do it [win gold] first try and I feel like I am just getting started,” said Ingebrigtsen triumphantly. “But at the same time, I have been dreaming of this for my whole life. It’s great.”