Karsten Warholm and Jakob Ingebrigtsen lit up Oslo on Thursday on a glorious night for Norway at the historic Bislett Games, the latest stop on the 2017 IAAF Diamond League circuit.
Warholm, 21, smashed his national 400m hurdles record with a brilliant performance, while Ingebrigtsen, just 16, broke his own world age-best for the mile on what was really a dream night for the pair of them.
It could not have been more fitting. In the stands watching was Edwin Moses, arguably the greatest 400m hurdler of them all, and in lane seven, running like he never had before, Warholm was showing what a sublime talent he is over the barriers.
Two years ago in Eskilstuna, Warholm gave amazing signs of his ability when he won silver at both the decathlon and 400m at the European Athletics U20 Championships, which takes some doing, swapping between both disciplines.
Having dispensed with the multi-events last year and adding the 400m hurdles to his repertoire, he broke his own national record by 0.24 when winning in 48.25.
Warholm held off Turkey’s Yasmani Copello, who was second in 48.44, despite a late challenge from the 2016 European champion with Switzerland’s 2014 European champion Kariem Hussein sixth in 49.37.
He was so exhausted at the end, it took him a long time to recover afterwards.
When he did get his breath back, Warholm said: “It was really great doing it at Bislett. It means a lot to do it here. I felt strong and I ran strong. I was near the last hurdle and changed to 15 steps. I had no more to give, and that is one of my strengths.”
Last summer, he reached the semi-finals at the Olympic Games in Rio, having broken the national record with his 48.49 in the heats, and now he has done it again in some style.
Ingebrigtsen in class of his own
No 16-year-old had run the mile as quick as Jakob Ingebrigtsen with his 3:58.07 in Eugene last month.
But now the youngest athlete to break four minutes for the distance has a new set of figures to conjure with: 3:56.29.
That is what the clock read as Ingebrigtsen won the famous Dream Mile here, a race which this year was solely for U20s, and his run surely puts his name alongside the greats of middle-distance running who have won this iconic event.
Ingebrigtsen, the youngest star from the now-famous Norwegian athletics family, won by over a second from Morocco’s Hicham Akankam.
Before the race Ingebrigtsen spoke of his aim to go faster than in Eugene and how true to his word he was.
“I felt strong today and the spectators were amazing and unbelievable. I could have run faster but it does not matter because it was a crazy experience.”
Along with Warholm, Ingebrigtsen showed what exciting times these are for Norwegian athletics, with both set to be stars at the forthcoming European Athletics U23 and U20 Championships next month.
Wightman lost for words at his 1500m win
The success of the stars of tomorrow did not end there. On the day he was named in the Great Britain team for next week’s European Athletics Team Championships Super League in Lille, Jake Wightman ran the race of his life in the 1500m to break his personal best by just over a second when he stunned the top-class field to win in 3:35.49.
“In utter shock. Cannot believe I’ve just won a Diamond League,” he tweeted later.
It was some run by Wightman – and the second best run by a European this year – as hit the front coming off the final bend and had enough strength sown the home straight to hold off Kenya’s 2015 world championships silver medallist Elijah Manangoi, who finished second in 3:34.30. Poland’s European indoor champion Marcin Lewandowski was third in 3:34.60 and Norway’s reigning European outdoor champion Filip Ingebrigtsen fourth in 3:36.74.
Wightman added: “I had never expected to win this, so it was a great step in the right direction.”
Stahl’s 68.06m is way ahead of the rest
It was a great night for Sweden’s Daniel Stahl as kept up his fine season by winning the men’s discus with a 68.06m in the final round having already won the competition with 67.36m from his third throw.
Stahl, fifth in Rio, is building brilliantly towards the IAAF World Championships in August, and beat an outstanding field in Oslo with Jamaica’s world-leader Federik Dacres second with 67.10m and Belgium’s Philip Milanov third in 66.39m. Germany’s 2016 Olympic champion Christoph Harting was sixth with 64.13m while Poland’s reigning world and European champion Piotr Malachowski had a below-par day in seventh with 63.70m.
Eventually Dafne Schippers could celebrate her 25th birthday with a 200m win in 22.31 after she was initially disqualified at the end of the race for an apparent false start before her protest was upheld.
Germany’s Pamela Dutkiewicz was impressive as she won the 100m hurdles in 12.73 with Norway’s former world U18 and U20 champion Isabelle Pedersen setting a personal best of 12.75 in third. Croatia’s two-time Olympic champion and four-time European gold medallist Sandra Perkovic made it 15 wins in a row in the women’s discus with a best of 66.79m.