Mechaal knows how to beat Ingebrigtsen at the European Athletics Indoor Championships | Sports

Enrique Llopis, on the right, together with the Frenchman Bascou, in the 60m hurdles series.
Enrique Llopis, on the right, together with the Frenchman Bascou, in the 60m hurdles series.STR (AP)

“Watching him on TV, it seems that he doesn’t care about everything. What ego, arrogance, self-esteem, confidence, I don’t know what to call it. He is a monster. Inhuman”. This is Adel Mechaal by Jakob Ingebrigtsen. The great Spanish hope of the athlete who astonished the world speaks, and left him with his mouth open, and Jesús Gómez, admired and even happy despite finishing fourth, on Friday in the 1,500m final, of the Norwegian who will be his rival on Sunday in the 3,000m final, for which both qualified without much fuss. “Before arriving in Istanbul,” says the Spanish athlete who lives much of the year in the big Turkish city, married to a Turkish athlete, and tries to control his emotions, “I said that I would come to win the 3,000m, but after what I saw, how he did 3m 33s without a hare, pulling by himself, and surely he could have gone faster, that he had another change, and I have done 3.33m and I know what it costs to do it, and I have done it with a laser, with the best hare in the world, and even so it was hard for me, and he did it alone, and after seeing that, and I know that since he only thinks of making history in the 3,000m he will go out to break the championship record [7m 38,42s del turco Alí Kaya en 2015]and that he will strain everyone at a thousand or 1,200 meters and he will want to arrive alone to celebrate and that no one can overcome him, and after all that, my only intention is to do one last thousand in my style, in 2m 22-2m 23, and overwhelm him so that he has to sprint in the last meters, so that he does not enter calmly ”.

This is how Jakob Ingebrigtsen coves, at 22 years old and a legend who is looking for the eleventh European title of his career this Sunday (6:00 p.m.). This is how he sneaks into the life of his rivals, and despair seeps into them, who observe him as a being alien to their world, one who doesn’t even eat what they eat, and they try to analyze and enjoy him like spectators of a movie. Marvel heroes or children who visit the zoo and discover a unique and beautiful species. “And she will win, I think”, Mechaal surrenders, who, ironically, has a better distance record (7m 30.82s, European record until a month ago) than the Norwegian, who hardly visits her indoors (7m 48.20s in 2021). “The only thing that would save us would be if he got lazy… I’ve seen that he doesn’t like hotel food and only eats bananas… As long as he doesn’t get diarrhea…”

Wide bands of duct tape wrap the toes of the green shoes of Enrique Llopis (7.63s, letting himself go for the last few metres), who has just passed to the semifinals of the 60m hurdles (Sunday, 8.35; the final, at 19.05 ) with the second best time of the 16 classified (among them, another Spaniard, Kevin Sánchez, from the Canary Islands, who goes through times and leaves out the legendary Frenchman Pascal Martinot Lagarde, better known by his trademark, PML) and does not take them as aerodynamic element, but protective. “If I don’t protect them with this, I destroy them in the starts, they don’t last me long,” says the hurdler from Gandía, who can, at 22, be European champion as his absent friend Asier Martínez already is, and expands the myth of flying shoes as Marcell Jacobs did a few minutes before, the Italian 60m world champion who was the fastest in the series running with his old Nikes, since the Puma, with which he signed in January, did not they are doing well

They are the third European indoor track for Llopis, a giant of 1.91m, a youth prodigy like his beloved Asier Martínez, who has already reached an Olympic finalist, world medalist and European champion in the 110m hurdles and whom he won quite a few times until In Tokyo 2021, Navarro went up to the cloud. “I think I made the leap in quality and confidence at the European Championship in Munich [disputó la final de la victoria de Asier], but to achieve what Asier has done, which is a lot, I still have a long way to go”, says Llopis, whose biggest rivals will be the Swiss Jason Joseph (7.61s in heats) and the Frenchman, medalist in Munich, Just Kwaou Mathey ( 7.63s), and commends the generosity of Asier Martínez, who resigned from Istanbul due to back problems and thus Kevin Sánchez was able to compete, one who trains with him, under the orders of Toni Puig, and always shares a room with him. And this one, Kevin Sánchez, also remembers the Navarrese: “I sent him a message this morning of encouragement and he replied wishing me luck…”

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