Thursday, June 20, 2024

– I didn’t say it out loud

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Press meeting with athletes at their hotel in Rome in connection with the European Athletics Championships 2024 in Rome, Italy. Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB

Of NTB | 06.06.2024 11:43:14

Sport: Moelven runner Ingvaldsen had his definitive breakthrough in international athletics in 2023. The 400-meter runner stormed to a strong sixth place during the WC in Budapest.

He also set a Norwegian record for the distance with 44.39 in the opening heat of the championship.

Now he faces two new championships, first the EC in Rome and then the Olympics in Paris. When the 21-year-old met the press in the Italian capital on Thursday, he revealed that the run-up to this year’s season has been more troubled than many have known.

The key word has been illness.

– I have been to three training camps and have gotten sick every time – and more than that. After the training started outside, it has been very good, but then came the last round of illness in Marseille (recently). It destroyed a bit, but I’m betting on being done with it now, Ingvaldsen told NTB and other media.

– I was very scared when I woke up with a stuffy nose and it only lasted a few days until Bislett. I would have voted for Bislett anyway, because it is so big and fun to be there. It took a lot before I had dropped it, Ingvaldsen said on Thursday.

– I think it inhibited me a little at Bislett. I didn’t say it out loud, but I’ve been struggling a bit with illness this winter. Now it has been good for a while.

When asked what exactly has bothered him in terms of health, the answer was:

– Everything from colds to sinus infections and things like that. No nausea, just a cold.

The periods of illness led to repeated setbacks in the preparations for the important 2024 season.

– I have had to take a few weeks off, but it has never been more than one to two weeks. I missed a bit and was set back a bit, admits Ingvaldsen.

– The body feels better now. I hope it (the disease problem) is completely out of my body, says Ingvaldsen.

Last season’s athletics star is therefore not trying to dampen the expectations of himself.

– If everything goes well and the form is good, I hope to be able to fight for a medal, says the 21-year-old.

He is ready for his second senior EC and was also in action during the World Championships in Budapest last summer. It provided valuable learning.

– I am much calmer now than before the WC. Now I have more lowered shoulders and know more about what I’m doing, says Ingvaldsen.

He is ready to handle the pressure the good results in 2023 entail.

– I knew there was going to be more pressure on me after last year’s season. I am prepared for that. There was a bit of pressure last year too, but I feel I handled it surprisingly well, he says.

The latest round of disease trends came right ahead of one of the big highlights of the season, last week’s Bislett Games.

Fortunately, he will arrive at the EC in Rome with a body that feels healthy and ready.

(© NTB)

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