Brussels’ re-vamped King Baudouin Stadium, with its super-fast new track, was able to celebrate a world record on Friday (8) in the penultimate Wanda Diamond League meeting of the season – courtesy of the endlessly talented Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the men’s 2000m.
The 22-year-old Norwegian won his battle with the clock over the final 600 metres to set a new mark of 4:43.13 – a first outdoor world record for the Olympic champion, who set a world indoor 1500m record of 3:30.60 last year and, at this season’s Paris Diamond League meeting, ran a two miles world best of 7:54.10.
After the huge blow of a second successive defeat to a Briton in a world 1500m final Ingebrigtsen, who said at the time he had been feeling under par, has re-grouped in a spectacular way, recovering in Budapest to retain his world 5000m title and then taking time out back home in Sandnes before venturing out for more mythical activity.
As he lined up, Ingebrigtsen raised a single finger into the air – and there was certainly no wind for him to be testing.
The pace target for the halfway mark was 2:21, but the time had drifted out at that point to 2:22.28. Ingebrigtsen, however, looked calm and comfortable, and after the last pacer moved aside with just over 600 metres remaining, the redoubtable Norwegian was off on his solo mission.
The crowd roared and rose to him as he drove around the final bend in his quest to erase the formidable mark of 4:44.79 set in Berlin in 1999 by Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj – whose outdoor world records for the 1500m (3:26.00) and mile (3:43.13) the prodigiously talented young Norwegian already covets.
“It’s always fun to break a record,” Ingebrigtsen said. “This one qualifies as a world record and not as a world best. I knew I was able to break this one, but I had some kind of virus 10 days ago and I didn’t really know how I would be feeling today.
“However, I felt really good and ran a good race. To be honest, this record wasn’t a difficult one for me. Sure, when you have to do it alone, it’s really tough, but I got great help from the pacemakers. Actually they were able to help me more than I expected.”
A rarely-run distance yielded riches for many of those in Ingebrigtsen’s wake. Reynold Cheruiyot was second in a world U20 best and senior Kenyan record of 4:48.14, with Australia’s Stewart McSweyn setting an Oceanian record of 4:48.77 in third place, and Dutch rising talent Niels Laros, 18, finishing fourth in a European U20 record of 4:49.68.
There was a Spanish record of 4:49.85 for fifth-placed Mario Garcia, a personal best of 4:50.64 for Norway’s world 1500m bronze medallist Narve Nordas, a North American record of 4:51.54 for Canada’s Charles Philibert-Thiboutot and a Belgian record of 4:52.37 for Ruben Verheyden. – WORLD ATHLETICS