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Athletics-Olympic champion Ingebrigtsen sets sights on gold in Eugene

Randy Mancini 7 Jul 12

By Philip O’Connor

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Norway’s Olympic 1500 metres champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen has one goal at the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon – to win as much as possible.

The 21-year-old track prodigy told reporters on a conference call that he will do his best to compete in the 1500m and 5000m at the championships in Eugene, which get underway on July 15, if the schedule allows.

Further down the line, he has one eye on the long-standing world record for the 1500m.

“I believe there’s some expectations of my performances in Eugene … so I’m looking forward to getting started and hopefully getting a medal and in a world championship outdoors,” Ingebrigtsen said.

“I’m going to go into the 1500 first and see how that goes, and I’m going to see if I’m going to go and do the 5k as well. But if everything goes according to my plan I’m of course trying to win as much as possible.”

Ingebrigtsen headed to America after the Diamond League meet in Oslo to start his preparations for the World Championships, training at altitude in Flagstaff, Arizona, which is some 2000 metres above sea level.

Previously coached by his father Gjert, his brothers Henrik and Filip are also middle distance runners but Jakob is very much the star of the family after setting a new Olympic and European 1500m record as he cruised to gold in Tokyo in a time of 3:28.32.

However, he believes the current world record of 3:26.00, set in 1998 by Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj, is not yet within his reach.

“It’s like asking people why they’re not going under nine seconds for the 100 metres, it’s only half a second (better than the record),” he explained.

“Even though it’s only a couple of seconds (to the 1500m record), it’s quite a large gap that needs to be filled.”

The focus may be on medals for now, but Ingebrigtsen is not ruling out a tilt at the record at some point in his career.

“I believe that I can run faster. Of course, I’m going to try to improve my own times trying to go under 3:28, and then if I do that, try to go under 3:27,” he said.

“And eventually, of course, I’m gonna close to get to the world record. And if that’s the case, then the world record’s always there, a realistic goal.”

(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Toby Davis)