2022 World Indoors Men’s Preview: Olympic Champions Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Selemon Barega Look to Stay on Top

By Robert Johnson
March 15, 2022

We hope you are excited for World Indoors. We are. Now don’t say, “It’s only indoors.” For our sport to be popular, we need more than one major. And lots of big stars are running the 2022 World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade.

Olympic 100 champ Marcell Jacobs is there, as is the World 100 champ Christian Coleman as well as pole vault world record holder Mondo Duplantis. But this is LetsRun and we care about distance. Well, that’s loaded as well as the Olympic 1500 champ Jakob Ingebrigtsen and 10,000 champ Selemon Barega are both competing.

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The meet starts Friday and runs through Sunday. Each night around 6 p.m. ET (time subject to change), we’ll be doing a live post-meet reaction video show from Serbia. We know catching things live can be difficult, so it will show up in your podcast feed if you join the LetsRun Supporters Club.

Below we preview the men’s mid-d and distance action for you. Our women’s mid-d/distance preview will be published here.

*Schedule *TV Info

Previous coverage:

Men’s 800: Can American Bryce Hoppel win gold?

Entrants

First name Last Name Country PB SB World rank
Mariano GARCÍA ESP 01:45.12 01:45.12 26
Bryce HOPPEL USA 01:44.37 01:45.30 12
Collins KIPRUTO KEN 01:45.39 01:45.39 15
Elliot GILES GBR 01:43.63 01:45.42 5
Andreas KRAMER SWE 01:45.09 01:45.71 19
Álvaro DE ARRIBA ESP 01:45.43 01:45.82 20
Shane STREICH USA 01:45.90 01:45.90 41
Noah KIBET KEN 01:46.06 01:46.06 22
Eliott CRESTAN BEL 01:46.11 01:46.11 28
Djamel SEDJATI ALG 01:46.28 01:46.28 51
Moad ZAHAFI MAR 01:46.29 01:46.29 46
Isaiah HARRIS USA 01:46.01 01:46.30 11
Quamel PRINCE GUY 01:46.35 01:46.35 85
Balázs VINDICS HUN 01:46.20 01:46.37 61
Mostafa SMAILI MAR 01:45.96 01:46.40 43
Marc REUTHER GER 01:45.39 01:46.41 33
Guy LEARMONTH GBR 01:46.46 01:46.46 47
Alex AMANKWA GHA 01:46.47 01:46.47 72
Tony VAN DIEPEN NED 01:46.49 01:46.49 25
Aurele VANDEPUTTE BEL 01:46.49 01:46.49 35
Samuel CHAPPLE NED 01:46.61 01:46.61 177
Marco AROP CAN 01:45.90 01:46.66 3
Mark ENGLISH IRL 01:46.10 01:46.89 29
Amel TUKA BIH 01:45.95 01:47.68 10
Charlie HUNTER AUS 01:45.59 01:48.29 36
Filip ŠNEJDR CZE 01:46.63 01:48.68 73
Charlie Grice GBR 01:45.62 NA

The men’s 800 indoors is always full of drama as making any 800 global final is always dicey. We always say one of the hardest things in track — and arguably one of the most unfair — is how the 800s at global championships cut down from 24 to 8 in a single round. Indoors, it’s every dicier as just 6 make the final. This year, there will be more drama than ever as 26 guys have qualified for the event (there were just 10 entrants in 2018 and 15 in 2016), meaning they will have to cut the field down from 26 to 6 (by rule, the final must be run with one entrant per lane) in a single round. We at LetsRun are official advocating four heats of up to 7 in each heat with the two slowest guys sharing a lane (not a waterfall).

Regardless, some talented guys are not going to be in the final.

There are six guys in the field this year who have broken 1:46 — Mariano Garcia (ESP, 1:45.12), Bryce Hoppel (USA, 1:45.30), Collins Kipruto (KEN, 1:45.39), Elliot Giles (GBR, 1:45.42), Andreas Kramer (SWE, 1:45.71), and Álvaro De Arriba (ESP, 1:45.82).

Of that group, I like American Bryce Hoppel the best. Yes, he lost to Garcia at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, but Hoppel was suffering from an unspecified rib injury at the time. His next time out, Hoppel he ran 1:45.30 and won USAs by one full second. Garcia, in turn, has lost his last two races, including the Spanish champs. Giles is my #2 pick as he’s run in the 1:45s three times and was the winner in Madrid on March 7 over Garcia and de Arriba.

Bryce Hoppel at the Olympic Trials last year. Tim Healy for TrackTown USA

The field also includes Canada’s Marco Arop, who is ranked #3 in the world. Arop has only run one 800 this year, but it was a good one, a 1:46.66 win in NY on March 6, and he was super good after the Olympics last year, picking up wins in Eugene and Lausanne. However, he battled Hoppel at NCAA indoors in 2019 and Hoppel won by 0.54. 2019 WC silver medallist and 2020 Olympic finalist Amel Tuka is also in the field but has only run 1:47.68 so far this year.

Rojo’s picks: 1. Hoppel 2. Giles. 3. Garcia

Are there betting odds anywhere? If your option is anyone versus the field, you have to take the field. Making the final isn’t a guarantee for anyone.

Men’s 1500: Jakob Ingebrigtsen is here / The last two Olympic 1500 record holders will battle

We at LetsRun always take World Indoors seriously and wish the athletes would as well. Yes, the global outdoor championships will always be the biggest event on the calendar, but the sport needs more than one major. So we are super pumped to see Tokyo Olympic 1500 champ Jakob Ingebrigtsen is in this one. But he’s not the only stud racing — this race features Olympic 4th placer Abel Kipsang of Kenya as well.

1500 Entrants

1st name Last name Country PB SB World rank
Jakob INGEBRIGTSEN NOR 03:30.60 03:30.60 2
Samuel TEFERA ETH 03:31.04 03:33.70 12
Abel KIPSANG KEN 03:34.57 03:34.57 4
Adel MECHAAL ESP 03:35.30 03:35.30 8
Neil GOURLEY GBR 03:35.32 03:35.32
Robert FARKEN GER 03:35.44 03:35.44 20
Oliver HOARE AUS 03:32.35 03:35.51 5
Teddese LEMI ETH 03:35.84 03:35.84 32
George MILLS GBR 03:36.03 03:36.03 41
Ismael DEBJANI BEL 03:36.38 03:36.38 17
Isaac NADER POR 03:36.50 03:36.50 43
Cameron PROCEVIAT CAN 03:36.85 03:36.85 71
Charles GRETHEN LUX 03:37.38 03:37.38 16
Ignacio FONTES ESP 03:36.89 03:37.39 9
Ferdinand Kvan Edman NOR 03:37.39 03:37.39 35
Abdelatif SADIKI MAR 03:37.80 03:37.80 29
Elzan BIBIC SRB 03:37.84 03:37.84 75
Pietro ARESE ITA 03:37.86 03:37.86 64
Joshua THOMPSON USA 03:34.77 03:37.96 52
Saúl ORDÓÑEZ ESP 03:37.99 03:37.99
Charlie DA’VALL Grice GBR 03:38.00 03:38.00 45
Federico BRUNO ARG 03:38.03 03:38.03 42
Abdelati EL Guesse MAR 03:38.22 03:38.22
Simas BERTAŠIUS LTU 03:38.32 03:38.32 49
Nesim AMSELLEK ITA 03:38.42 03:38.42 101
Christoph KESSLER GER 03:38.46 03:38.46 127
Jack ANSTEY AUS 03:38.65 03:38.65 105
Andrew COSCORAN IRL 03:37.20 03:38.80 33
Michal ROZMYS POL 03:36.10 03:38.82 13
Luke MCCANN IRL 03:39.02 03:39.02 53
István SZÖGI HUN 03:37.55 03:39.03 37
Samuel PRAKEL USA 03:36.36 03:39.92 27
Amos BARTELSMEYER GER 03:38.16 03:40.25 73
Abraham GUEM SSD 03:40.9 NA
Eric NZIKWINKUNDA BDI 03:48.08 NA
Gaylord SILLY SEY 03:56.24 NA
Alaa ALGORNI LBA NA NA

Last year, Ingebrigtsen won double European indoor gold and then went on to Olympic gold in Tokyo. This year, he’s only raced once indoors but it was a great one — a world record of 3:30.60 in Lievin. Ingebrigtsen is the heavy favorite for the win here as he’s run more than three seconds faster than anyone else in the field on the year. The #2 seed is the former world record holder Samuel Tefera of Ethiopia. Tefera, 22, doesn’t have a good recent championship record. Last year, he ran 3:30 in Monaco prior to the Olympics and then didn’t get out of the first round. In Doha in 2019, he didn’t make the final either. He did win this meet the last time it was held in 2018, though.

Ingebrigtsen celebrates his first world record

However, he’s very lightly raced in 2022 and should be poised to do well here. He ran 7:37 on February 12 and then 3:33.70 in Lievin five days later. 3:33.70 is actually also what we convert Olli Hoare‘s 3:50.83 mile from Millrose to using the 1.0802 conversion. The Australian Hoare, who was 11th in the Olympic final last year, is definitely a medal contender here.

But there is a clear #2 pick in this one: Abel Kipsang of Kenya. Kipsang, 25, was the revelation of 2021. Prior to the Olympics, he’d never even run in a Diamond League meet. Yet at the Olympics, he broke Noah Ngeny’s 21-year-old Olympic record of 3:32.07 in the semis by running 3:31.65 before running even faster (3:29.56) to place 4th in the final. This year, he’s run and won two 1500s (3:36 in Metz and 3:34 in Birmingham) with a 4:57 2000 thrown in between. In his 3:34 in Birmingham, he beat the Olympic 5th placer Adel Mechaal of Spain, who is running the 3000 in Belgrade (he’s listed in the 1500 entries but according to World Athletics, he’s only doing the 3000).

Rojo’s picks: 1. Ingebrigtsen 2. Kipsang 3. Tefera

PS. American Josh Thompson has a good kick. If he could get in the final, crazier things have happened than someone like him stealing a medal when other guys blow up trying to run for gold.

PPS. Ingebrigtsen is probably good enough to front-run this but I’m curious if he a) might want to try to work on other tactics or b) go for the world record and the $50,000 WR bonus.

Men’s 3000: Can Ethiopia go 1-2-3?

Entrants

1st name Last name Country PB SB World rank
Berihu AREGAWI ETH 07:26.20 07:26.20
Lamecha GIRMA ETH 07:27.98 07:30.54
Selemon BAREGA ETH 07:26.10 07:30.66
Adel MECHAAL ESP 07:30.82 07:30.82
Jacob KROP KEN 07:31.90 07:31.90 9
Andreas ALMGREN SWE 07:34.31 07:34.31 44
Daniel Simiu Ebenyo KEN 07:37.86 07:37.86 12
Maximilian THORWIRTH GER 07:38.14 07:38.14 58
Jonas RAESS SUI 07:39.49 07:39.49 22
George BEAMISH NZL 07:39.50 07:39.50
Elzan BIBIC SRB 07:39.96 07:39.96
Zouhair TALBI MAR 07:40.39 07:40.39 41
Thomas MORTIMER GBR 07:40.97 07:40.97 50
Jordan GUSMAN MLT 07:44.40 07:44.40 85
Ossama MESLEK ITA 07:44.45 07:44.45
Hicham AKANKAM MAR 07:44.61 07:44.61
Jamaine COLEMAN GBR 07:44.65 07:44.65
Sam PARSONS GER 07:44.99 07:44.99 69
John GAY CAN 07:45.34 07:45.34
Darragh MCELHINNEY IRL 07:45.91 07:45.91
Isaac KIMELI BEL 07:44.17 07:46.62 43
Ahmed JAZIRI TUN 07:47.34 07:47.34
Baldvin MAGNUSSON ISL 07:47.51 07:47.51 133
Fernando Daniel Martinez MEX 07:44.31 07:47.67 97
Mohamed AL Garni QAT 07:39.23 07:47.79
Ehab EL-SANDALI CAN 07:48.00 07:48.00 144
Joel Ibler LILLESØ DEN 07:48.34 07:48.34 161
Yassin BOUIH ITA 07:47.98 07:48.38
Michael SOMERS BEL 07:48.72 07:48.72 81
Dillon MAGGARD USA 07:49.05 07:49.05 102
Adriaan WILDSCHUTT RSA 07:52.38 07:52.38 54
Marc SCOTT GBR 07:51.65 07:53.35
Nursultan KENESHBEKOV KGZ 07:57.61 07:57.61 325
Matthew RAMSDEN AUS 07:35.65 NA
Ali Moussa Barak CHA 08:54.33 nA

For all of you American fans that think that because Grant Fisher has run 12:53/26:33, he’s a shoe-in for the medal in future global championships, just take a look at the Ethiopian entrants in this one. They are so strong that Getnet Wale, who has a 12:53 5000 pb and has run 7:30.88 this year, didn’t make the team. Here is who is on Ethiopia’s team (they got the extra spot with the World Indoor Tour winner).

Berihu Aregawi – At the Olympics, he was 4th in the 10,000, one spot ahead of Fisher. Since then, he’s beaten Fisher again in the Pre 2-mile, won the DL final in 12:58 and in his lone indoor race this year nearly broke Daniel Komen‘s WR when he ran 7:26.20 in Karlsruhe on January 28. And he just turned 21 on February 28.
Lamecha Girma – The silver medallist in the steeple in 2019 and 2021 has pb in the event of 7:27.98. He’s run 7:30.54 this year. Also 21 years of age officially.
Selemon Barega– The Olympic 10,000 champ is the old man in this group at 22. He’s run 12:43 for 5000 pre-super shoes in 2018.

Any of the three could win it and an Ethiopian medal sweep is certainly possible. Based on his 7:26, I’d give the edge to Aregawi if I knew he was healthy. But Aregawi hasn’t raced since January 28. Has he just been getting ready for Worlds? Or was he injured? We’ll find out soon enough.

Barega and Girma have raced three times this year. It’s been super tight each time with Girma getting the edge in the first two races by 0.12 and 0.30 before Barega turned the tables by 0.06 in Madrid on March 2.

There are certainly other people in the race who could medal.

Adel Mechaal, the Spaniard who was 5th in the Olympic 1500 and earlier this year set the European record in the 3000 (7:30.82) is entered here.

Selemon Barega Wins the 2020 Olympic 10,000m

Kenya has two entrants. Their top entrant is 20-year-old Jacob Krop — who was 6th at the 2019 Worlds and 3rd in the DL final last year. Krop has run three 3000s this year. The slowest he’s run is 7:38 as he’s also run 7:34 and 7:31, getting faster in each race. That’s the good news. The bad news is he hasn’t finished higher than 3rd in any of his races. The other Kenyan is Daniel Simiyu, 26. Simiyu had a breakout 2021 as he lowered his 5000 pb from 13:15 to 12:55. That’s the good news. The bad news is he didn’t get out of the first round of the Olympics. This year he’s run 7:42 and 7:37 as well as 26:58 on the roads.

The BTC’s Marc Scott is in the form of his life and has run 12:57 this year. While he’s got 3:35 1500 speed, he was the NCAA 10,000 champ so is 3,000 a little short for him?

And don’t forget Geordie Beamish of the OAC/New Zealand. Twice this year, he’s been in races where it looked like he was going to be dropped for good only to storm back late to get the win. His big kick certainly could results in a World Indoor medal, much like Ryan Hill won one in 2016. Look at the names Hill beat in 2016: Augustine Choge, Abdelaati Iguider, Caleb Ndiku, Paul Chelimo, Isiah Koech, Moh Ahmed, Yenew Alamirew.

Florida State’s Adriaan Wildschutt deserves props for doing the NCAA/Worlds double on back-to-back weeks but he’s more of a 10,000 guy (he was 4th in 5000 at NCAAs).

Rojo’s picks: 1. Barega 2. Girma. 3. Krop

Barega might be a double Olympic champ if he’d been allowed to run the 5000 in Tokyo. He won his last race. I can’t pick against him since I don’t know what Aregawi is up to.

Full 2022 World Indoor Coverage *Women’s mid-d/distance preview will be published here.

*Schedule *TV Info

Previous coverage:



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