A full house is expected for Ingebrigtsen and Warholm at the Diamond League in Oslo

Oslo’s Bislett Stadium was incredibly sold out earlier this year in anticipation of this Thursday’s Diamond League meeting.

Norwegian athletes will participate in almost all events in front of the home crowd.

Highlighting the sections will be defending World Championship medalists Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Narve Nordas in the 1,500m and world and Olympic champion Karsten Warholm in the 400mH.

Warholm will look to open his season in the stadium where he set his first world record in the 400-meter hurdles. That 2021 46.70 is now well behind her current personal best and world record of 45.94, but she’ll want to start strong here to show she’s in contention with rivals Alison dos Santos of Brazil and Rai Benjamin of the United States.

The final event, meanwhile, will be the 1,500 meters and will feature Norway’s 2-3 finish in the World Championship.

Ingebrigtsen will arrive from a transatlantic flight after finishing second in Eugene’s Bowerman Mile on Saturday. Ingebrigtsen’s final time was 3:45.60; he has yet to run 1,500m this season. Nordäs has run 3:33.87 over the distance.

Diamond League events in this competition will include women’s discus, 400m, 3000m, 200m, 800m and 400mH. The men’s competition will feature pole vault, 400 m, triple jump, discus, 5,000 m, 100 m, 400 mH and 1,500 m.

A first-class 3K race

A large group has gathered around Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal, who holds the Norwegian national records in the mile, 5 km and 3 km steeplechase. Her 3K personal best of 8:33.47 is elite and she will face the Spanish Laura Galván (8:28.05), the Australian Jess Hull (8:31.18) and another Caroline, the Kenyan Nyaga, who has a PR of 8:31.98 .

The 3K is not contested in the Olympic Games and performances at this distance do not affect the world ranking or the qualification for any of the events closest in distance, the 1,500 m and the 5,000 m.

However, this is a desirable early summer race for both middle distance and distance runners and performances should be fast. Grovdal can try to beat the Norwegian record of 8:31.75 held by Grete Waitz. If the race is paced right, Hull can try to improve on her own national record of 8:31.81.

An epic pole vault showdown is set

The men’s pole vault field is epic, with the second and (one of the) third place finishers from last year’s World Championships. Ernest John Obiena and Chris Nilsen will be joined by two other men who have jumped at least six meters: Sam Kendricks and KC Lightfoot of the United States.

The notable absence is that of the world and Olympic champion, the Swede Mondo Duplantis. He competed on Tuesday at the Continental Tour Ostrava.

The men’s discus is absolutely stacked, led by newly minted world record holder Mykolas Alekna of Lithuania. Alekna, who finished third at the 2023 World Championships, threw 74.35 meters at the Oklahoma Throws competition in April.

Alekna is joined by first place finisher Daniel Ståhl, silver medalist Christian Čeh and fourth to sixth place finishers Matthew Denny, Fedrick Dacres and Lukas Weisshaidinger.

Alekna’s world record was launched in conditions optimized to take advantage of the wind from the Oklahoma facility. There likely won’t be another record on the line at Bislett Stadium, but it will be intriguing to see how Alekna compares this time around.

Star power in the 100 meters

The men’s 100 meters comes at a time of the season when many sprinters are looking to make a statement.

Only three men in this field have broken 10 seconds this season: Akani Simbine of South Africa (9.90), Brandon Hicklin of the United States (9.94) and Jeremiah Azu of Great Britain (9.97).

Two notable great figures are Yohan Blake and Marcell Jacobs, 34 years old.

World record holder returns in the 400 mH

The men’s 400 mH is not a Karsten Warholm time trial.

Behind the defending champion are the second, fifth, seventh and eighth place finishers from last year’s World Championships.

Although Warholm won the title last year over second-place finisher Kyron McMaster by a huge margin (0.45 seconds) in his first match of the season, there might be some expectations that he is vulnerable.

Behind Warholm, Alison Dos Santos seeks to claim that her fifth place finish last year was a fluke. Kyron McMaster seeks to claim that his second place finish was not.

American CJ Allen, off to a strong start this season, is plotting his path to the U.S. team and perhaps the Olympic final. Warholm, from an outside lane, is the big favorite.

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A Norwegian 1-2

Following his finish in the Bowerman Mile on Saturday in Eugene, Jakob Ingebrigtsen seemed pleased with his fitness, although he was frank about how much he had lost while recovering from an injury over the summer.

His time of 3:45.60 for the full mile may temper expectations for this race.

While hungry fans might have hoped for an early season 3:28 here, there’s a chance a tired Ingebrigtsen could hang back and instead work on a tactical finish.

However, here Ingebrigtsen is not paired with officers. He is joined by Nordås, who won bronze behind him in the 1,500 meters in Budapest. A victory will not be easy.

Some Eugene competitors will fly: Olli Hoare (9th in 3:49.11) Neil Gourley (4th in 3:47.74).

2019 world champion Timothy Cheriyuout is on the field. So are two other men who are under 3:30 and a handful of others who are under 3:31 and are in search of the big one.

In recent years, the middle-distance races at the Bislett Games have been built as exhibitions for Ingebritsen. He often pays special attention to the longshots, the what-ifs and the losers.

Hardcore track fans will find some exciting plots here. For example, Cheriyuout could reestablish himself as a medal contender without even winning the race. Nordas could beat Ingebrigtsen to cement a complicated rivalry. Australian Stewie McSweyvn could get a positive sign that he should focus more on the 1500m this year.

There are three Brits in the race who are No named Josh Kerr or Jake Wightman and with this race they could argue that Great Britain’s Olympic 1500m team is the toughest middle distance team in the world to qualify for.

However, assuming racers are running a 3:33 pace or faster, Ingebrigtsen is probably driving to win and will make a lot of people look silly while doing it. He has proven that he is not invincible, but he is currently operating at a level that most will never reach.

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