Jakob Ingebrigtsen reigns in Rabat
Norwegian brushes aside challenge of Yared Nuguse and Olli Hoare to win 1500m at the Diamond League in Morocco as Soufiane El Bakkali, Gudaf Tsegay and Yaroslava Mahuchikh also impress
Such is the recent form of Yared Nuguse, there was speculation ahead of the Diamond League in Rabat on Sunday (May 28) that the American could topple Jakob Ingebrigtsen at 1500m. For the Norwegian, though, it was business as usual as he cruised home in 3:32.59 to win by half a second from Nuguse and Olli Hoare.
In his first race since the European Indoor Championships in March, the Olympic champion had too much firepower on the final lap. Due to an inconsistent pace (55.56 then 59.57 and 57.13), it meant Ingebrigtsen still had company with 200m to go, but he kicked from the front entering the home straight and his rivals had no answer.
Still, Nuguse ran a PB of 3:33.02 in his first-ever Diamond League race while Commonwealth champion Hoare ran 3:33.39.
You never really know in your first race of the season, so I kind of worked my way into it, said Ingebrigtsen, who added he was surprised his rivals were so far behind.
Nuguse added: I gave it everything I could. Jakobs an amazing runner and I wasnt expecting to roll over him in the first race. That would be ridiculous.
What can we expect from Ingebrigtsen during the rest of the season? Better, faster, stronger! he replied.
Ingebrigtsen and Nuguse are due to race again at the Diamond League in Oslo on June 15.
World and Olympic champion Soufiane El Bakkali was also in terrific form in front of his home crowd as he stormed to 3000m steeplechase victory in a PB of 7:56.68 despite slowing down to enjoy the moment in the closing metres.
El Bakkali soaked up the early pace which, for a while, was inside world record schedule, before romping clear in the closing stages. His winning time places him No.8 on the all-time rankings as runner-up Getnet Wale of Ethiopia ran 8:05.15.
My aim was to break the world record but I got tired on the last lap, he said. Now I will rest to get ready for my next competitions and especially the World Championships where my aim is to keep my title.
Like El Bakkali, Gudaf Tsegay ran a meeting record and world lead of 3:54.03 with a powerful display in the womens 1500m. Passing 400m in 61.3 and 800m in 2:03.6, Tsegay drew ahead of teenager Birke Haylom to clock an African all-comers record. Fellow Ethiopians Freweyni Hailu and Haylom were second and third in 3:57.65 and 3:57.66 respectively.
The mens 100m was missing Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs the Italian controversially withdrawing from his showdown with world champion Fred Kerley. In his absence, Kerley won impressively in a meeting record of 9.94 from Akani Simbines 9.99 and Ferdinand Omanyalas 10.05. If Jacobs recovers, we could see the head-to-head at the Diamond League in Florence on Friday June 2.
In the sprint hurdles, there was a shock as Rasheed Broadbell won in 13.08 ahead of world champion Grant Holloway.
Mary Moraa, meanwhile, sped to victory in the womens 800m in 1:58.72.
In the field, Ukraines Yaroslava Mahuchikh set a meeting record of 2.01m, while Kristjan Ceh of Slovenia took the mens discus with 70.32m.