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Norwegian stars Warholm and Ingebrigtsen turn focus on Euros, Olympics

Norway's Karsten Warholm (centre)'s attention will be focused on next week's European championships and then the Paris Games. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP

Norwegian track stars Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Karsten Warholm lit up the Oslo Diamond League and the Nordic country’s two Olympic champions now insist all their attention will turn to next week’s European championships and then the Paris Games.

Ingebrigtsen rounded off a high-octane evening of action at the famed Bislett Stadium on Thursday, lurching over the line in dramatic style to beat Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot by just three-hundredths of a second in the 1500m.

Warholm, however, had to be happy with second place behind Alison Dos Santos in the 400m hurdles, the Norwegian having stumbled after clipping the final hurdle to hand his Brazilian rival the advantage at the line.

“I am happy with the race but of course I always come to win so there is no way around that,” said Warholm, a three-time world champion and two-time European gold medallist.

“I hit the last hurdle quite badly so that didn’t help and gives me a lot to do. But then again there is plenty to work on and that is the important take away from today.”

Warholm, known for his kamikaze starts, is running in new spikes in a bid to improve his final 200 metres, which will be put to the test at the June 7-12 Europen champs in Rome.

“I am on a very good path, I went out fast and I am working on my new stride pattern, 14/14 and I was pleased with how that went today,” he said.

“It is only my second race of the season but I do always come to win so that is disappointing. But I am really looking forward to Rome which will be awesome and I can’t wait.”

Warholm produced one of the most memorable Olympic moments in recent times when he scorched to victory in the 400m hurdles at the Covid-delayed Tokyo Games in 2021 in a blistering world record time.

Lucky to be healthy

Also raising the Norwegian flag in the Japanese capital was Ingebrigtsen in the 1500m, although he was then pipped to world golds in 2022 and 2023 by the British duo of Jake Wightman and Josh Kerr, while also winning the 5,000m twice.

Ingebrigtsen has made a longer-than-expected return from an achilles injury, but improved on his second place in the mile behind Kerr at last week’s Eugene Diamond League meet with his dive over the line in front of a baying home crowd.

“I really do not think that it was the decision I made to dive into the finish line because everything just happened so fast,” said the 23-year-old who won 1500/5,000m doubles at both the 2018 and 2022 European champs in Berlin and Munich respectively.

“But I can tell you that that was a sprint off! It was a good race, I felt stronger than last time. So it was all about my improvement and at the same time, I wanted to do my best and to give the crowd the show.

“I was getting sore in the last 50 metres. I was expecting someone to come from the outside so I was very prepared to give it 100 percent.”

The vociferous crowd, he added, “wanted a Norwegian victory. They are very enthusiastic and it helps a lot. Especially in the last lap and in the finish, the whole volume of the stadium rises and I wanted to give it the best, I did not want to lose even a second”.

Ingebrigtsen said he was confident of defending his European and Olympic titles.

“I feel lucky that I was able to get healthy and get a couple of months of a good training before the summer. Without that, we would definitely not be here in this position,” he said.

“Still, every day I feel better and better. And defending the titles at the Europeans and Olympics — I think yes.”

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