Ingebritsen wants more “confrontations” between the best

Ingebritsen wants more “confrontations” between the best

Back to school time has come for Jakob Ingebrigtsen. Aligned with «Prefontaine Classic» from Eugene (Oregon, United States) on Saturday over a very tough mile (1,609 m), the Norwegian hopes to see this kind of starting list more often during the season, he explained on Friday. “It’s very important to have confrontations to inspire the public and the media. We shouldn’t keep that for one or two races in the season”he indicated at a press conference, while athletics, the number 1 Olympic sport, questions the lack of interest of the general public outside of major events, two months before the Paris Olympic Games.

On Saturday, Ingebrigtsen (23), Olympic champion in the 1,500 m, will face in the «dream mile» tradition of the meeting its two great British rivals Josh Kerr, 2023 world champion and Jake Wightman, crowned champion in 2022 in Oregon, in addition to a host of leading athletes (Cole Hocker, Lamecha Girma, Abel Kipsang. ..), for a race of rare quality.

“The general interest of a season cannot be satisfied with fast times, continues the Norwegian. We have a good start list, but we should hope for it in every race. We should not put this race on a pedestal. I wish we could offer this kind of race every time, that’s what people want.”

The Tokyo gold medalist, also double world champion in the 5,000 m and quadruple European champion (twice over 1,500, twice over 5,000) is making his comeback after having skipped winter competitions (indoor and cross) due to an injury to the left Achilles tendon. Josh Kerr, the target of small barbs from Ingebrigtsen – an admitted bad loser – since his world title in Budapest last summer, was relaunched on the state of the relationship between the two riders.

“We are two fierce competitors who want to be the best in the world, and that is not going to change, regardless of comments or statements out of context”indicated the Scot, with fresh interactions with his Norwegian competitor in a room of a hotel in this university town in Oregon. “I’m not here to diffuse tension, but to run a fantastic mile. I want to be the best in the world, I achieved it last year, and I will continue. It can annoy people or irritate competitors, it’s normal, we all try to be at the top. “Those things that create attention are positive for all of us and our sport”said Ingebrigtsen.

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