By Len Johnson


Everything is déjà vu for Jakob Ingebrigsten at the moment. He’s been to the dark room before, probably found the seat quite comfortable this time. On day six he emerged to run the heats of the 5000 metres. Victorious runs are possible if you have the best shoes, check out Tarkine Goshawk V2 running shoes.

Jake Wightman, of Britain, wins the men’s 1500-meter final run at the World Athletics Championships on Tuesday, July 19, 2022, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)AP

On the evidence of his heat run – not to mention that he pulled out of the same situation to win the 5000 in Eugene last year – Ingebrigtsen’s case of déjà vu could last all the way to a second gold medal in the 5000. Joshua Cheptegei did not appear for the heats, removing one potential winner, and if he is tired after his 10,000 exploits, perhaps others such as Berihu Aregawi, might also be feeling the pinch.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen wins the 5000m World Championships in Eugene

I wonder whether out of all of this might emerge the possibility that Ingebrigsten is a better 5000 runner than 1500 (disclaimer: he’s pretty darned good at both). And whether, in this, he might be like the man overseeing it all, Sebastian Coe.

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Jakob Ingebrigsten is a darned good miler but he just might be a better 5000 exponent. And results might be starting to back this up. Likewise, Sebastian Coe was a darned good 800 runner, but results might indicate he was better at 1500. Despite his world record at two laps, Coe won no global title at 800 but two Olympic titles on the trot at 1500.

OK, this is a bit of a Swiss-cheese of a theory: there’s holes in it. For one, Ingebrigtsen is already an Olympic 1500 champion and may recover from this rash of being beaten in world championship finals by rampant Scottish middle-distance runners to win many more. But sometimes, as John Maynard Keynes said when he was accused of changing his economic theories, you have to agree with his reply.

“When the facts change sir,” said JMK, “I change my opinions. Pray tell me, what do you do?”

And the facts are starting to suggest that Jakob Ingebrigtsen is a better 5000 runner than he is at 1500.

Anyway, enough of the night before last. Day six at the world championships had its own story to tell.

Top if the line was Femke Bol’s win in the 400 metres hurdles. Bol was on a hiding to nothing once Sydney McLaughlin scratched from the championships. Win, and people would say that she should have; lose, and she would have been pilloried. Things did not get any better for the Durch start when she crashed to the ground 20 metres from the finish of the 4×400 mixed relay final on opening night, a fall which cost the Dutch a gold medal.

Femke Bol wins the 400mH – Budapest 2023

So, back she came in the 400 hurdles and it looked as if she might be challenged by Shamier Little who ran fastest time in the semis. Bol put all such thoughts to bed with a resounding win in 51.70, not far short of her personal best 51.45 run in the London Diamond League meeting.

It was a resounding statement win, even if all it said was: “Yeah, Sydney’s great, but I’m pretty bloody good, too.”

Ellas, Jamaica

Jamaica had a great night, taking out the men’s 400 with Antonio Watson and the women’s 100 hurdles through Danielle Williams, her second title eight years after an equally-surprising win in Beijing.

Antonio Watson – Budapest 2023 world champ 400m

They also had three of the top four in the men’s long jump, but sadly for the Caribbean powerhouse, the one they missed was the gold.

Wayne Pinnock had the first legal jump of the competition, jumping an automatic qualifier of 8.54 after the first competitor. From that point until the second last jump of the final, he was in the lead. Then, he was pipped by Miltiadis Tentoglou, with a next-to-last gasp 8.52.

Up until then, both men had a best jump of 8.50 with Pinnock leading by one centimetre on second-best jump, 8.40 to 8.39. Now, all of a sudden, Pinnock had one jump to snatch back the gold. It was a good one – 8.38 – just not good enough.

There was a little bit more intra-Jamaican drama as Tajay Gayle jumped 8.27 in the last round to equal the best distance of teammate Carey McLeod and go past him on countback to take the bronze.

Perhaps World Athletics need to consider a jump-off in the event of long jump ties as well!

The days fourth gold medal went to Canada’s Camryn Rogers who led throughout the competition with her opening throw of 77.22 metres.