Karsten Warholm didn’t show any lingering symptoms of the stomach illness which forced him to miss the European Athletics Team Championships First League in Sandnes a fortnight ago as the reigning world and European 400m hurdles champion produced another rousing performance in the Paris Diamond League on Saturday (24) evening.
Running from lane seven on a brand new track which will also stage the 2020 European Championships, Warholm started in his trademark assertive manner and made up the stagger on Kyron McMaster midway down the back straight. Over the sixth hurdle, Turkey’s Yasmani Copello - who preceded Warholm as European champion in 2016 - was still clinging on to Warholm’s ferocious pace but the Norwegian’s strength and technique was to prove irresistible, especially over the last two hurdles.
Adopting a 13-stride pattern between each barrier for the first time in a Diamond League competition, Warholm took the tenth hurdle superbly and was rewarded with the second fastest time of his career at 47.26 - bettered only by his European record of 47.12 from the London Diamond League. He also came away with another one second-plus winning margin ahead of France’s Ludvy Vaillant (48.30) with McMaster and Copello third (48.33) and fourth (48.47) respectively.
Warholm is unbeaten on the Diamond League circuit this year - and has won each of his four races by more than one second - but the reigning world champion isn’t getting carried away ahead of his title defence at the IAAF World Championships in Doha next month knowing that some of his leading rivals have been keeping their powder dry.
“I've been very consistent and hitting good times. This year the three best people [Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba and Rai Benjamin from the United States] haven't met yet so that's why I get to win by so much at meets like this, but we're all trying to get the work in to be in peak form for Doha,” said Warholm.
Warholm’s compatriots Filip and Jakob Ingebrigtsen were both in action in the 1500m and for only the second time this season, the middle brother Filip had the beating of the reigning European 1500m and 5000m champion.
Filip finished third in 3:31.06, one position ahead of Jakob in 3:31.33 although the head-to-head is still in the teenager’s favour this season at 4-2 over 1500m and the mile. Uganda’s Ronald Musagala won in 3:30.58 to equal his national record.
Jakob told reporters that he was not feeling particularly fresh after a recent heavy block of training. “I knew I was not going to be in the best shape and I've had arguments with my father recently because I always want to run fast but he tells me we need to think about Brussels so we've been back in winter training, doing a lot of mileage,” said Jakob.
Mayer shows scintillating form with his title defence in Doha approaching
World decathlon record-holder Kevin Mayer has seemingly mastered the juggling act of training for all 10 events as the Frenchman continues to smash his lifetime bests across the board.
Mayer said he had “never been so happy with a performance” after beginning his triathlon campaign - a mini combined event competition incorporating the shot put, long jump and 110m hurdles - with a lifetime best of 17.08m in the shot put, adding more than half-a-metre to his already formidable lifetime best of 16.51m.
Mayer eschewed his remaining two attempts to prepare for the long jump which resulted in a best mark of 7.50m and he concluded his evening by setting his second lifetime best of the competition in the 110m hurdles with 13.55.
Mayer won all three individual disciplines on the programme and came away with a total of 2886 points, winning by more than 200 points from Pieter Braun from the Netherlands (2629 points) and Germany’s Kai Kazmirek (2621 points).
“Now, I can't wait to compete in Doha,” said Mayer. “In the long jump, there was a little bit of wind on my back, so I was too close [to the board] but I could jump properly. After that, I didn’t have enough time to rest before running on 110 m hurdles, but I was still able to get another PB.”
In the 200m, reigning world and European champion Ramil Guliyev finished second in 20.01 - just 0.02 outside his season’s best - although the Turkish sprinter was much more distant of Noah Lyles from the United States who won in 19.65 - his fourth sub-19.8 clocking of 2019.
Elsewhere, Greece’s Ekaterini Stefanidi cleared 4.75m again to finish second in the pole vault behind Canada’s Alysha Newman who cleared a national record of 4.82m on her third attempt to confirm victory and Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic finished second in the discus with 65.01m in the sixth round behind Cuba’s Denia Caballero with 66.91m.