Jakob Ingebrigtsen took a steady first step towards a 1500m/3000m double at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Torun as he cruised through his heat on Thursday (4) to qualify in second place for tomorrow evening’s final.
The 20-year-old, who earned 3000m gold in Glasgow two years ago but was beaten to gold in the shorter distance by Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski, finished in 3:39.89 behind Britain’s Neil Gourley, who clocked 3:39.84.
There was a comfortable gap between Ingebrigtsen, who set the European indoor record of 3:31.80 in Lieven last month, and third place, occupied by Jan Fris of the Czech Republic in 3:40.99.
Lewandowski, 33, who spoiled Ingebrigtsen’s double plans in Glasgow with a final sprint, looked impressive as he utilised all of his experience to win the final heat in 3:39.78 from Filip Sasinek of the Czech Republic in 3:40.04.
“I'm in good shape and Marcin [Lewandowski] is getting older,” said Ingebrigtsen. “He's nearly twice as old as me! But I remember what happened in Glasgow two years ago so I'm expecting a good fight tomorrow. Today I was just trying to save as much energy as possible.
Lewandowski, who will also seek a 1500/3000m double, commented: “The heats are always about conserving energy, but even more so here, because my plan is to race four times in four days. The race went according to plan. The more even the pace, the more energy you save, and here I managed to run a steady race for the first 1000 metres before accelerating. The many years of indoor and outdoor running experience have taught me how to do this.”
The pace of the final heat enabled the third and fourth placers, Paul Robinson of Ireland and Belgium’s Stijn Baeten, to earn two of the four fastest non-automatic qualification places with respective times of 3:40.07 and 3:40.40.
While Jakob Ingebrigtsen ticked the qualification box, his elder brother Filip was run out of the qualifying places in the opening heat, finishing fourth in 3:41.52 as Spain’s Jesus Gomez finished first in 3:40.75, with home runner Michal Rozmys second in 3:40.92. Filip won the 2016 European outdoor title but the indoor stage hasn't been kind to him, exiting in the heats in 2015, 2017 and 2021 and suffering a disqualification in 2019.
Gomez’s teammate Ignacio Fontes won the second heat in 3:38.68, the fastest ever 1500m heat recorded at the European Indoor Championships, from Great Britain’s Piers Copeland who clocked 3:38.88.
Meanwhile in the men’s high jump qualifying the two favourites – Italy’s defending champion Gianmarco Tamberi, who leads this year’s world lists with 2.35m, and Maksim Nedasekau of Belarus, who has cleared 2.34m this season, were among eight to go through on 2.21m.
Tamberi, ever the showman, was jumping with his normally long black locks dyed white-blond and tied in a top-knot and required just two jumps, clearing at 2.16m and 2.21m. The old deal with the half-shaven beard was a thing of the past. It turned out the new hairstyle was a homage to a Lord of the Rings character.
“I am not a half-shaved man anymore. I wanted to be like Legolas so I dyed my hair like this. I did it like one week ago just for this championship. I am getting old. I am wiser now - I am just kidding,” he said.
Among those joining Nedasekau and Tamberi in Sunday morning’s final will be Germany’s European outdoor champion Mateusz Przybylko.
Greece’s defending long jump champion Miltiadis Tentogolu sailed straight into the final with his first round effort of 8.04m – four centimetres more than the automatic qualifying mark.
He was soon joined by Sweden’s Thobias Montler, who produced the best effort of the evening, a season’s best of 8.18m, with his second jump.
Shot putter Maria Belen Toimil produced a similarly emphatic performance as she added 70 centimetres to the Spanish record, qualifying for the final with 18.64 metres.
She finished third in a powerful roster headed by Germany’s Christina Schwanitz – world champion in 2015, European indoor champion in 2013 and European indoor silver medallist in Glasgow two years ago – who threw 18.86m.
Aliona Dubitskaya of Belarus was second with a season’s best of 18.74m, and fourth in qualifying place went to Portugal’s world leader Auriol Dongmo with 18.55m.
Full day one results here.