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World of Sport

28th Aug 2023

World Athletics Championships wrap: Ingebrigsten shows rare glimpse of modesty as Bol rises from the ashes

Niall McIntyre

A tremendous World Athletics Championships finished with a blazing encore on Sunday night.

The Budapest renewal will surely go down as one of World Athletics’ finest.

Where do you start? You simply have to start with the Double-Dutch-Disaster on the competition’s opening night. Somehow, with gold at their finger-tips, both Sifan Hassan and Femke Bol came a-cropper in the dying strides last Saturday.

Hassan got over her fall quickly but the fact that Bol’s came in a relay made it all the harder for her. Denying her team-mates their world medals would have hurt like hell.

What a delight it was then, eight days on, to see the Dutch athlete bounce back with one of the most astonishing relay legs of all time to win the 4x400m title for her country.

That was the curtain call but in between, from Josh Kerr’s 1500m victory over Jakob Ingebrigsten to Faith Kipyegon’s dream double, Hungary’s National Athletics Centre played host to some amazing show-downs.

America’s sprint heroes Sha’Carri Richardson and Noah Lyles lit these championships up while Kenya’s Dancing Queen Mary Moraa won arguably the race of the week, beating favourites Athing Mu and Keely Hodgkinson in the 800m.

But as is often the case, given his blend of ability and confidence, Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigsten was once again one of the main talking points.

It came as a huge shock when, for the second year in a row, Ingebrigsten was stunned into second by a British athlete in the 1500m. Many were disappointed in the Norwegian apparent lack of grace in defeat when, rather than praising his conqueror Josh Kerr, he put it down to a ‘sore throat’ that left him feeling below 100%.

“He was just the next guy,” said Jakob.

“If I hadn’t run in the final, he would probably have won.

“That’s how I see the race. Obviously if you stumble, fall, someone is going to win the race, he was just the next guy,” he said.

Ingebrigsten went onto show remarkable resilience a few short days later when, in grinding out a hard-fought win over Spain’s Mohamed Katir, he retained his 5k crown.

And while still maintaining that he wasn’t 100%, the Norwegian did show a glimpse of modesty in an interview with Irish journalist Cathal Dennehy. Dennehy asked Ingebrigsten if he ever had a moment’s doubt that he would in the race.

“Yes,” said the former Olympic champ.

“Like the first 4,950 (metres).”

Meanwhile, despite failing to win a medal, this championships could only be considered a success for the Irish team. Fourth place finishes for Rhasidat Adeleke (400m) and Ciara Mageean (1500m) were the undoubted highlights but the women’s 4x400m relay team are also well up there with their eight place finish.

Sophie O’Sullivan and Sarah Healy also impressed in the 1500m while Sarah Lavin did her part by breaking Derval O’Rourke’s 13-year-old 100m hurdle record.

“All targets were exceeded,” said Paul McNamara, performance director of Irish Athletics in an interview with Virgin Media’s Will Dalton.

Onto the next. Onto Paris.

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