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Josh Kerr makes 1500m Olympic medals guarantee after beating Jakob Ingebrigtsen

Josh Kerr has guaranteed British medals in the men’s 1500m at the Paris Olympics  (Getty Images)
Josh Kerr has guaranteed British medals in the men’s 1500m at the Paris Olympics (Getty Images)

Josh Kerr has guaranteed that Team GB will win medals in the men’s 1500m at the Olympic Games this summer after beating fierce rival Jakob Ingebrigtsen in a star-studded mile race at the Diamond League event in Eugene, Orgeon over the weekend.

Kerr smashed Steve Cram’s 39-year-old British record to claim victory in the highly-anticipated showdown with Ingebrigtsen thanks to a remarkable, world-leading run of 3:45.34. Cram had held the British record since 1985 with a time of 3:46.32.

Olympic 1500m champion Ingebrigtsen, who was stunned by Kerr in that event at last year’s World Championships in Budapest, finished second, with Britons Neil Gourley and Jake Wightman in fourth and fifth respectively.

British men’s middle-distance running is currently in the strongest position since the 1980s heyday of Cram, Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe, with Ingebrigtsen vs Kerr – who won bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics – one of the most hotly-anticipated events of Paris 2024.

And the Scot claims that the depth over that distance means that British medals are guaranteed later this summer.

“Both Jake [Wightman] and Neil Gourley have been struggling with injuries over the past year or so and the way they stepped up this week is just phenomenal,” Kerr told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“It shows there’s going to be some intense battles over the next couple of weeks going into the British Championships and then the Olympics.

“I can guarantee right now there are going to be medals for the UK at the Olympic Games in the 1500 and they can come from any one of us.”

Josh Kerr outclassed the field to win the mile race, in a British record time, at the Diamond League event in Eugene (USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con)
Josh Kerr outclassed the field to win the mile race, in a British record time, at the Diamond League event in Eugene (USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con)

Kerr ran a personal-best time of 3:29.05 at the Tokyo Games to take Olympic bronze behind Ingebrigtsen and Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot but has since raised his level to become arguably the best 1500m runner in the world.

He believes Mo Farah’s British 1500m record time of 3:28.81 is in his sights and hopes that his Eugene victory “showed my form to the British selectors”, enabling him to run the 800m at the Olympic trials in July to work on his speed. However, he is not currently planning to double up and run both distances in Paris, with 1500m still the focus.

“My goal in this sport was to be a world and Olympic champion,” he explained. “I’ve got the indoor and outdoor titles, but I don’t have the Olympic champion yet, so I don’t want to risk anything.

“Obviously I am there to go after gold, but I know the guys who will be on the team with me will be trying to do the same thing. A sweep on the podium might be a little bit of a pipedream, but you never know what can happen with this kind of calibre of guys.

“The Brits and Europeans dominate this distance now, like it was in the golden age of 1500m running. I’m proud to be leading that and I wanted to make sure, against a class field like that [at the Diamond League], I could still put in the work and show who the best guy is.

“I definitely have the British 1500m record in my sights. The mile one was a bit older and it was really fun to get.”