By Citius Mag Staff
May 23, 2023
Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen will race the 1500m for the first time since last summer’s World Championships when he steps on the track at Prince Moulay Abdellah Sports Complex in Rabat on Sunday, May 28. He will race against U.S. indoor mile record holder Yared Nuguse for the first time.
Here’s what you need to know:
– Ingebrigtsen will open up his 2023 outdoor season after winning the European Indoor Championships in the 1500m and 3000m.
– Nuguse will contest his first 1500m of the outdoor season after opening up at Sound Running’s Track Fest with an 800m personal best of 1:46.30. Nuguse is coming off an indoor season in which he ran the American records at 3000m (7:28.23) and the mile (3:47.38)
Why haven’t they raced against each other?
The only previous potential matchups between the two runners would have come at the 2017 World Junior Championships in Tampere, Finland but Nuguse did not reach the final. Ingebrigtsen went on to win a silver medal. Ingebrigtsen and Nuguse both qualified for the Tokyo Olympics but the American star scratched from the heats after suffering a quad injury while in Japan.
Who else is in the race?
The race also features Kenya’s Abel Kipsang (3:29.56 PB); Filip Ingebrigtsen (3:30.01) and Nuguse’s On Athletics Club teammates including Olli Hoare (3:30.12) and Mario Garcia Romo (3:30.20).
What they’ve said about each other:
In February, Ingebrigtsen was asked what he made of “new competition” following Nuguse’s victory at the Millrose Games. He replied, “I wouldn’t say new competition. I’ve probably raced most of them. It’s good to see people improving. That’s what it takes when everyone wants to take a step in the right direction. It’s good for the sport and good for running that a lot of people are starting to train good and doing the right things but I’m still the best.”
Nuguse expressed his own excitement for the opportunity to race against Ingebrigtsen: “I think it will be fun once I get to race him.”
Hoare took it a step forward with his own comments after the Millrose Games’ Wanamaker Mile.
“I hope he’s a little scared. It’s nice to see U.S.-based athletes, whether they’re American or international, going into these meets, competing and beating some of the best in the world. Hopefully, it will encourage Jakob not to dodge too much and want to race us and these athletes because that will give him exposure and experience in racing us. I know he’s watching.”
If we had oddsmakers setting lines on this race, Jakob Ingebrigtsen would unequivocally be the heavy favorite. He’s the Olympic champion and the only blemishes in his 2023 season were losses at the World indoor and outdoor championship finals.
It’s totally understandable why European track and field fans might be confused or upset why we’re choosing to focus on Nuguse as the top contender in this race when there’s another sub-3:30 guy in the field and last year’s World Championships fourth-place finisher. The way we see it is that if Ingebrigtsen is seen as the heavyweight champion then Nuguse is the young American fighter who has performed well in smaller races and is finally getting his shot to prove that he belongs in the ring with Jakob.
Nuguse is the emotional favorite. (Simply check out our Instagram comments here for further proof.) Nuguse is currently riding a winning streak on the track that dates back to last July. In fact, he has not lost a track race since joining the OAC.
Ingebrigtsen is a proven tactician who can control a race. Nuguse is still unproven internationally but we have been able to watch him pull off victories at times because he’s that much that better than the field despite the occasional tactical errors. Six weeks after running 1:46.44 in June 2020, Ingebrigtsen went on to run 3:28.32 at the Tokyo Olympics for gold. Nuguse just ran a little faster over 800m. And it’s not like Nuguse isn’t strong either. He ran that 7:28.23 for 3000m indoors mostly solo whereas Ingebrigtsen ran his 7:27.05 personal best and lost.
All things considered – Ingebrigtsen is the favorite to win and doesn’t show up to races unless he is ready to run fast. However, it’s not crazy to think Nuguse will win and it’s nice that he’s willing to put his streak on the line.
No matter what, it will be worth the watch.
– Kyle Merber
How to watch:
You will be able to watch the meet on CNBC and Peacock. The Diamond League YouTube page will also stream the meet, which can be watched with a VPN. The broadcast starts at 2 p.m. ET. The men's 1500m is scheduled for 3:11 p.m. ET.
Citius Mag Staff