It is almost a year away but Karsten Warholm would have good reason to look forward to next summer’s European Athletics Team Championships.
For now, the First League venue is not yet fully confirmed but the Norwegian star will be in a prime position to take maximum points for his nation if he runs on the opening day of the championships on August 9.
No, it is not his birthday. It just happens to be the one day of the year when the 22-year-old cannot lose.
“I won the World Championships in London on August 9,” said Warholm. “And the same day, a year later, I became the European champion in Berlin. That was great.”
Coincidence, of course, but should any of his opponents see the name of the 400m hurdler on any start-line in just under 12 months’ time, then beware.
Any ‘any’ being the operative word because let’s not forget, that Warholm is an athlete of amazing adaptability. In 2015, when he won 400m silver at the European Athletics U20 Championships in Eskilstuna, he also finished second in the decathlon – which was running simultaneously.
Now, though, it is all about the barriers over which he is one of the finest young athletes in the world.
After his title win at the IAAF World Championships in London, the pressure was on in Berlin a fortnight ago but Warholm once more proved to be the supreme competitor. He triumphed in another European U23 record of 47.64 from Turkey’s reigning champion Yasmani Copello in 47.81 and Ireland’s Thomas Barr in 48.31.
And it had been the same one-two last summer at the European Team Championships in Vaasa, Finland when Warholm won on a cold afternoon in the Finnish town in a championship record of 48.46 from Copello in 49.17.
“Winning the 400m hurdles in Berlin was the most amazing day,” said Warholm, who followed up his Berlin glory by last weekend doing the 400m and 400m hurdles double at the national championships in Byrkjelo.
“It is all about the hard work and the dedication that my coach and I do. And I am a competitor – and I like to compete.”
It is three summers now since the then 19-year-old took on that tough task of competing in an individual discipline and multi-events but he has discovered a great deal about himself since.
“I learned that I am stupid,” said a smiling Warholm as he recalled that mammoth task. “It was fun to take on new adventures and new tasks
“I have been growing a lot. Now I am world champion and European champion and most people do not get to experience that. I have grown a lot mostly because of these challenge because I am always challenging myself.”
The Olympics in Tokyo in 2020 is edging ever closer but Warholm said: “I am training and see where it takes me. I don’t look that far ahead.”
Though, you suspect - August 9 2019 - might have crossed his mind.