Karsten Warholm would be forgiven for thinking he is in a dream after an extraordinary three days in his young career.
After winning the 400m hurdles at the Bislett Games in Oslo on Thursday, the 21-year-old Norwegian talent triumphed again on Sunday with his second consecutive success at an IAAF Diamond League, this time in Stockholm.
He left the rest of the field trailing in his wake with Estonia’s Rasmus Magi, the 2014 European silver medallist, taking second in 49.16 and Turkey’s reigning European champion Yasmani Copello third in 49.18.
Warholm admitted he felt the pain of two important races so close together but still had enough in the tank to make it home in front.
“The plan is always to go hard and when you are tired, go harder,” said Warholm. “It was hard to recover from Oslo. I brought some friends and my coach here and we were just having fun, trying not to think too much about the race and I managed to perform well.”
In what has been an amazing time for Norway's male track stars in the last few weeks, Warholm’s 16-year-old compatriot Jakob Ingebrigtsen followed up his Dream Mile glory in Oslo – when he set a world age-best – by taking more than two seconds off his 1500m personal best to set a European U18 best of 3:39.92.
He finished 11th in a race won by Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot in a world-leading 3:30.77.
Ortega ready for Lille challenge
Five days before the start of the European Athletics Team Championship Super League in Lille, Spain’s Orlando Ortega made a big impression as he narrowly won the 110m hurdles in a +3.5 wind-assisted 13.09.
Ortega had to recover from a less-than-sparkling start but started to motor in the second half of the race to edge in front from the last barrier and beat Russia’s 2015 world champion Sergey Shubenkov, running as Authorised Neutral Athlete, by 0.01.
Ortega showed his battling spirit to land his victory and he was not alone in preparing for Lille in style.
Germany’s Rebekka Haase had a day to remember in the 200m as she broke her personal best of 22.95 by finishing third in 22.76 behind Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahoure, who won in 22.68, and Canada’s Crystal Emmanuel (22.69).
Haase will run the 4x100m relay for Germany in Lille while Spain’s Estela Garcia warmed up for the championships in great fashion too.
She also ran a personal best of 23.16 in fifth ahead of competing in the 200m in France, along with the sprint relay.
No stopping Lasitskene
Russia’s Mariya Lasitskene, like Shubenkov an Authorised Neutral Athlete who is set to defend a world title this summer, is in the form of her life and there was not let up on that in Stockholm as she cleared 2.00m once again for high jump glory.
Lasitskene now has the top five marks in the world this year after winning her third Diamond League meeting of the season, before unsuccessfully attempting 2.06m.
Poland’s former world indoor champion Kamila Licwinko finished second with a season’s best of 1.97m and Sofie Skoog delighted herself, her coach – the 2004 Olympic champion Stefan Holm – as well as her family and friends in the historic and famous 1912 Olympic stadium as she equalled her personal best of 1.94m for third.
Another local athlete, Daniel Stahl briefly looked set for victory in the men’s discus.
He led with a second round throw of 67.34m until Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres reached 68.36m in the fourth round, the exact mark the Swede has thrown this summer to put him currently second on the European Athletics 2017 list.
However, Stahl was not finished as he ended with 68.13m, a superb competitive effort that threatened the lead even if it did not overtake it.
It was a fine performance in what was one of the strongest fields of the day. Stahl finished ahead of current European number one, Lithuania’s Andrius Gudzius, who was third with 67.29m.
Poland’s reigning world and European champion Piotr Malachowski was sixth with 64.60m and Germany’s 2016 Olympic champion Christoph Harting down in seventh with a modest 61.75m while the latter’s brother Robert, the 2012 Olympic champion, won the family bragging rights on this occasion with a best of 66.20m for fifth place.
Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic saw her unbeaten run of 16 successive discus wins, her last defeat coming when she finished second at the 2015world championships, come to an end.
Perkovic had only two legal throws, 67.61m in the first round and 67.75m in the fifth – but it was not enough to beat Cuba’s Yaimi Perez, whose opener of 67.92m brought her the victory as Germany’s Nadine Muller finished third with 65.74m.
There was great excitement in the men’s 100m with a series of amazing times – until the result showed a wind reading of +4.8!
With a personal best of 10.01, Germany’s Julian Reus recorded 9.99 for fifth as Canada’s Andre De Grasse sped to a winning time in 9.69.
In the women’s pole vault, Switzerland’s Nicole Büchler was the other European victor on a blustery day in the Swedish capital.
Büchler cleared 4.65m at the first time of asking and despite three attempts to get over her previous height of 4.55m that was enough to win on countback from Sweden’s former world youth and junior champion Angelica Bengtsson and Venezuela’s Robeilys Peinado.