Olympic bronze medallist, Josh Kerr, delivered a performance of a lifetime to claim World Championship gold in the men’s 1500-metre event. In so doing, he keeps the crown in British hands. Kerr repeated the feat of teammate Jake Wightman from the 2022 Eugene World Athletics Championships, one year ago. Both Brits bettered the more favoured Jakob Ingebrigtsen from Norway.
Kerr clocked a season’s best 3:29.38 for the win. Ingebrigtsen clocked in at 3:29.65 for second, while Narve Gilje Nordås of Norway took third in 3:29.68.
American Yared Nuguse, who holds the North American record at 3:29:02 from the Oslo Diamond League in June was a surprise fifth-place finisher in Budapest.
Kerr said, “It has been a long time coming. It is quite an overwhelming experience but I am so proud of myself. I am so proud of my team and my family – they got me here. I didn’t feel like I ran the best race either so I just threw my whole 16 years of this sport at that last 200m and didn’t give up until the end.
“It was fast from early and I kind of got bumped back into sixth or seventh but I stayed calm and I just wanted to execute a race that I would be proud of and I knew that I was capable of a World Championship gold medal for the team so I am very proud to be able to add to that medal count today.”
Kerr and teammate Neil Gourley were placed in the middle of the field. When the men’s 1500m final got underway with the latter on the inside. The British pair jostled around the bend before the bell with Kerr starting to make his move as he moved wide.
He moved to second behind Ingebrigtsen with 600m and was right on the Norwegian’s shoulder as the last lap began. The two started to stretch away from the field down the back straight before Kerr decided it was time to push for the lead with 200m to go.
Kerr always looked confident even as Ingebrigtsen responded but failed to prevent him from coming through. In a near repeat of the final from a year ago that saw Wightman triumph, the Brit powered through in the closing metres to take a sensational gold.
Kerr roared away in celebration as Ingebrigtsen looked completely stunned. The new world champion’s time a season’s best of 3:29.38 – 0,26 quicker than he has gone all year – and he added: “There is a very big reminiscent of Wightman in there [over the last 200m]. I was battling with Jakob pretty hard. You could see by my face that I was throwing everything I could at this guy. We were both hurting. I have wanted this for my whole life and thought, I am not letting anyone get in the way of that’
“I looked up at the screen, didn’t see anyone coming and I made sure I pumped all the way home. I am so happy. With 50m to go, I kind of broke him and it was just about holding form at that point. I’d be proud – giving everything in that situation – if it was gold, silver or bronze. I’ve had the bronze and the gold is sweeter.
“This is a lot for our family. They have put a lot of time and effort and money into me and I just couldn’t be more proud to represent the Kerr family name today. I gave everything for them, myself and my fiance. This is the life I want to lead for them.”
Gourley meanwhile was competing in his second outdoor World Championship final after an 11th in 2019 and, after finishing ninth in 3:31.10, he said: “I tried to hang on but it didn’t quite happen in the last 200m, it was a hard pace. I tried to go and there wasn’t a whole lot left – I gave it my all.
“I don’t think it’s that complicated how to win these things, it’s just holding on for the last 200m. If you have enough left you can go by but it’s just very hard to hold on and feel fresh at 200m to go the way Jakob pushes on from the front.
“It’s [Josh beating Jakob] not maybe as big a shock as some people think. Jakob hasn’t been beaten this year in any Diamond League races but this isn’t a Diamond League race so it’s a lot different.”
Men’s 1500m Final – Wednesday, August 23
|1||Josh KERR||GBR||3:29.38 SB|
|3||Narve Gilje NORDÅS||NOR||3:29.68|
|7||Cole HOCKER||USA||3:30.70 PB|
|8||Reynold Kipkorir CHERUIYOT||KEN||3:30.78|
|10||Niels LAROS||NED||3:31.25 NR|
Men’s 1500m Semi-Final – Sunday, August 20
|1||Yared NUGUSE||USA||3:32.69 Q|
|2||Abel KIPSANG||KEN||3:32.72 Q|
|3||Niels LAROS||NED||3:32.74 Q NR|
|4||Azeddine HABZ||FRA||3:32.79 Q|
|5||Narve Gilje NORDÅS||NOR||3:32.81 Q|
|6||Neil GOURLEY||GBR||3:32.97 Q|
|8||Pietro ARESE||ITA||3:33.11 PB|
|12||Emil DANIELSSON||SWE||3:34.16 PB|
|1||Jakob INGEBRIGTSEN||NOR||3:34.98 Q|
|2||Josh KERR||GBR||3:35.14 Q|
|3||Cole HOCKER||USA||3:35.23 Q|
|4||Mario GARCÍA||ESP||3:35.26 Q|
|5||Isaac NADER||POR||3:35.31 Q|
|6||Reynold Kipkorir CHERUIYOT||KEN||3:35.53 Q|
Men’s 1500m Heats – Saturday, August 19
Top 6 in each heat advance to semi-final
|1||Jakob INGEBRIGTSEN||NOR||3:33.94 Q|
|2||Josh KERR||GBR||3:34.00 Q|
|3||Reynold Kipkorir CHERUIYOT||KEN||3:34.24 Q|
|4||Adel MECHAAL||ESP||3:34.35 Q|
|5||Isaac NADER||POR||3:34.36 Q|
|6||Charles PHILIBERT-THIBOUTOT||CAN||3:34.60 Q|
|9||Abraham GUEM||SSD||3:37.85 PB|
|11||Yervand MKRTCHYAN||ARM||3:39.35 NR|
|1||Mario GARCÍA||ESP||3:46.77 Q|
|2||Tshepo TSHITE||RSA||3:46.79 Q|
|3||Neil GOURLEY||GBR||3:46.87 Q|
|4||Samuel TANNER||NZL||3:46.93 Q|
|5||Ruben VERHEYDEN||BEL||3:47.02 Q|
|6||Timothy CHERUIYOT||KEN||3:47.09 Q|
|13||Joao BUSSOTTI NEVES||ITA||3:48.55|
|1||Niels LAROS||NED||3:34.25 Q|
|2||Mohamed KATIR||ESP||3:34.34 Q|
|3||Cole HOCKER||USA||3:34.43 Q|
|4||Pietro ARESE||ITA||3:34.48 Q|
|5||Narve Gilje NORDÅS||NOR||3:34.67 Q|
|6||Azeddine HABZ||FRA||3:35.16 Q|
|13||Ajay Kumar SAROJ||IND||3:38.24 PB|
|14||Diego Javier LACAMOIRE||ARG||3:38.92 PB|
|1||Abel KIPSANG||KEN||3:34.08 Q|
|2||Yared NUGUSE||USA||3:34.16 Q|
|3||Adam SPENCER||AUS||3:34.17 Q|
|4||Charles GRETHEN||LUX||3:34.32 QSB|
|5||Elliot GILES||GBR||3:34.63 Q|
|6||Andrew COSCORAN||IRL||3:34.75 Q|
|11||Michał ROZMYS||POL||3:36.26 SB|
|12||Raphael PALLITSCH||AUT||3:36.47 PB|
|13||Kristian Uldbjerg HANSEN||DEN||3:37.27 PB|