With five hours to go before the 1,500m final, Sir Sebastian Coe sticks to protocol.
As with all major international events, the head of athletics calls groups of journalists together and looks after them. This time he has convened Italian and Spanish special envoys.
The chronicler can’t help it. Questions:
-You were a two-time Olympic champion in 1,500 (Moscow ’80 and Los Angeles ’84). The Spaniards placed three men in the final. What do you think will happen?
-Well, Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Tim Cheruiyot are the strongest now. Both have shown to be in great physical and mental shape. But it all depends on how you drive: you also have to count on the Brits, with Josh Kerr and my friend Jake Wightman. And the Spaniards? Well, they’ve produced a great generation of young talent. We spoke to its president, Raúl Chapado, about going back to the 80s and 90s.
Ahhhh, the 80’s and the 90’s.
Abascal and Gonzalez chase Coe. And then Cacho, Pancorbo, Estévez, Viciosa, Andrés Díaz, Higuero, Casado…
Okay, let’s get out of the reverie.
This is Eugene and this is the second decade of the 21st century.
And on the plastic at Hayward Field, Abel Kipsang takes the lead and accelerates, and the group stretches like chewing gum.
The race goes as predicted. It goes like a shot.
41’s of the 300.
55s the 400.
1m51s of the 800.
That is serious.
I’ve always said records are better than medals; But now that I have that…”
-I knew the race would end like this. I get along well with McSweyn (the Australian who also loves swindles and finished ninth) and it was clear he was happy to get away with it. My brother always tells me he’s a free bunny – said Mo Katir (24), a happy man in the bowels of the stadium.
Jakob Ingebrigtsen shows up there around 800, hypothetical favorite, who steps on the gas even more, and those who can’t get on the bus melt away.
Ignacio Fontes (24), the Spaniard who fought so hard for his place in Eugene, gives way and falls behind. Mario García Romo, the 23-year-old from Salamanca who studied chemistry at Ole Miss in Mississippi, clenches his teeth and stays in the fight.
– I saw the partial images and thought: See you for 3:30 minutes! -says García Romo, who had been thinking hours earlier gladiatorhis favorite film, “because of the soundtrack and because the protagonist comes from Emérita Augusta and this place is very close to my Salamanca”.
And Mo Katir, the talented Murcian who broke onto the international scene a year ago by breaking the Spanish records of 1,500 and 5,000 maneuvers.
– It was all about falling behind and conserving strength. If you’re behind but close, you’re in the group. I didn’t want to tell anyone, but that was my idea.
There is dizziness in the passage of thousand: 2m19s.
That is serious!
Now Cheruiyot wants her place on the stage. He sides with Ingebrigtsen, and Sir Coe’s friend Wightman also comes.
This is gonna hurt.
At the doorbell, Ingebrigtsen looks for another corridor.
He is an Olympic champion, he is one of the stars of the athletics world, he is the protagonist of the Gjert Ingebrigtsen project, the Norwegian visionary who had put his six children to run to see what would become of it and it turns out four middle distance runners came out, and Jacob the best.
At 300 m the Norwegian commands and Cheruiyot is disfigured and Wightman is seen and Katir maneuvers.
I looked at the partial images and thought: See you for 3:30 minutes! And now? Well, I always dream of becoming an Olympic champion, like Cacho.”
The entry into the corner marks a third switch: Wightman wins the rope to Ingebrigtsen, who would have thought it, and five men fight as they come out onto the straight.
Wightman perseveres, taking the title in 3m29s23, an expensive title like in the days of El Guerruj or those of the early Cheruiyot, withstanding pressure from Ingebrigtsen, uncomfortable silver for the guy looking for the double (3m29s47), and Katir wins a square, it opens on lane three, it hardly appears on the finish line photos how good the final is for him in the face of a dog to take bronze, in 3:29:90: he comes stuck but everyone comes like that on , plugged.
(García Romo is fourth, in 3:30.20; Fontes, eleventh, in 3:34.71).
-Fourth place is incredible. But I can do even more. Cacho was an Olympic champion at the age of 23 and that’s my goal -says García Romo-. With the team behind me, I can dream of it.
How long has it been since a Spaniard was on the world podium?
You have to go to Sevilla’99, Estevez’s bronze.
23 years have passed.
-I was always asked what I prefer, the records or the medals. So far I’ve always said that the records. But now that I have this… -Katir says goodbye.
Warholm fails in the 400-meter hurdles: The afternoon punishes the Norwegians
Just as Jakob Ingebrigtsen is leaving the stage, sore and sad, another Norwegian bursts in, the amazing Karsten Warholm, world record holder in the 400m hurdles and world and Olympic champion who reaches the final touched, burdened with a muscle problem in his hamstrings: he had been injured five months ago. Warholm starts and seems poised to hold his own against Alison dos Santos, a Brazilian Brazilian who burned part of her head as a child, but she dismounts as she comes onto the straight, deflates like a hot air balloon and leaves in 48s42, seventh. The gold goes to Dos Santos, who signs 46s29, the championship record.