By Lori Ewing
BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway raced to victory in the 5,000 metres on the final day of the World Athletics Championships on Sunday, bouncing back from bitter disappointment in the 1,500m four days earlier.
The 22-year-old, who has battled an illness this week, ran down Spain’s Mohamed Katir over the final 50 metres to win in 13 minutes 11.30 seconds. Katir took the silver in 13:11.44, while Jacob Krop of Kenya crossed in 13:12.28 for bronze.
“I had to deliver an optimal race,” Ingebrigtsen told Norwegian broadcaster NRK. “I’ve been dizzy all day, and I didn’t feel good in the warm-up, which I haven’t done in the last few days either. Then it’s incredibly big to still take the victory.”
Ingebrigtsen was out-kicked by Britain’s Josh Kerr in the 1,500m on Wednesday in a carbon copy of last year’s worlds in Eugene when he was pipped by Briton Jake Wightman.
And in a remarkable repeat performance of last year, he dug deep for the 5,000 victory on Sunday, patiently remaining near the back of the pack before moving up from fourth to second with 200 metres remaining in the smothering heat and humidity in Budapest.
“To win another world title is great of course. But I was very tired,” said Ingebrigtsen, who held up one finger to signal first-place for the cameras during the introductions.
“I tried to save my energy to win at the end because that was the only way tonight. It worked out absolutely perfectly.”
It was only Ingebrigtsen’s second 5,000m this season, his first coming in the semi-finals in Budapest, although he served notice he was up for the task when he smashed the 26-year-old world record in the seldom-run two mile at the Paris Diamond League in June.
“Getting sick is a nightmare,” said Ingebrigtsen, gold medallist in the 1,500m at the Tokyo Olympics. “I’m a little disappointed with the situation I’m in, I hope I never get into it again.”
Katir said he feels like he is getting closer to beating the Norwegian.
“I gave it all today. I gave all that I have. But you know, Jakob is Jakob,” Katir said. “He is the best in the world nowadays. Last year I finished with a bronze, now with a silver. Next year is Olympic year, so we will see if I can continue this step-by-step improvement and finally achieve a full collection of medals.
“I heard the coach of some of the guys saying it is time for the last change in pace, so I was thinking, I should do that too,” Katir added.
“I did it, yet Jakob beat me in the last metres and I am a bit angry. But a silver medal is not something I should be ashamed of.”
Uganda’s Oscar Chelimo did not finish, pulling off the track holding his hamstring with two laps to go.
(Reporting by Lori Ewing; Additional reporting by Tommy Lund; Editing by Toby Davis)