In the same stadium where he won the world title in sensational style in 2017, Norway’s Karsten Warholm rewrote history once again at the London Anniversary Games on Saturday (20) afternoon by smashing the European 400m hurdles record for the second time this summer.
With a run bristling with power and intent, barring a tricky final barrier, Warholm won in 47.12 to replace his mark of 47.33 set only in June at the Bislett Games in Oslo.
The defence of his world crown in Doha might be over two months away but on this form he will be very tough to beat after a world-leading run as he beat Turkey’s Yasmani Copello, second in 48.93, and US athlete Amere Lattin, third in 49.18.
When Warholm, now 23, won gold here two years ago, his face, with his eyes almost popping out in disbelief, was the picture of the championships. Once more he was the star of the London show after storming through the first 200 metres and winning by a yawning margin.
Watching was Michael Johnson who said that Warholm could threaten the world record of 46.78 which US athlete Kevin Young ran at the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992.
“It is an honour coming from him. Of course I think about, the European record sounds very good as well,” said Warholm. “I always try to surprise but at the same time it is not a given. It takes hard work, dedication and a lot for me to get out these extraordinary times.”
Ingebrigtsen smashes European U20 5000m record
Earlier in the afternoon, Warholm’s teammate Jakob Ingebrigtsen ran one of the races of his life to break the Norwegian 5000m record as well as his European U20 record.
Still only 18, Ingebrigtsen obliterated his personal best of 13:17.06 from the 2018 European Championships and with it the national record of 13:06.39 by finishing second in 13:02.03, just a stride or two behind Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet, the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist. He also broke the family record which had stood to oldest brother Henrik at 13:16.97.
It was another brilliant landmark for Ingebrigtsen, almost 12 months on from his 1500m and 5000m European double in Berlin.
The time was his first Norwegian national track record outdoors and it came in a race where he took on the top field with two laps left, led with confidence and then battled all the way as Gebrhiwet moved in front of his with 250 metres left.
“I am definitely able to go under 13 minutes,” said Ingebrigtsen. “This is my first fast 5km [of the season] so I am satisfied.”
Though not part of the Diamond League programme which this meeting doubled up as, the 5000m was one of the races of the day as Ingebrigtsen finished a long way ahead of Kenyan Nicholas Kipkorir Kimeli (13:05.48) in third with Great Britain’s Andrew Butchart breaking his personal best by more than two seconds as he finished fifth in 13:06.21.
European leading times for Hughes and Nielsen; Muir sprints to 1500m victory
It was quite an afternoon for European 100m champion Zharnel Hughes. The Brit won his heat in 9.96, which moved him into a clear lead over teammate Reece Prescod at the top of the European list – they had both had a best of 9.97 – and then in the final he went even quicker.
Hughes ran 9.95 but he had to settle for second as South African Akani Simbine won in 9.93 with Jamaica’s 2011 world champion Yohan Blake third in 9.97.
Britain’s European 1500m champion Laura Muir produced a sensational final lap to win the event superbly. Muir is determined to add the world title this year to her Berlin glory from 2018 and in a race where the field was bunched for long stages, she ran the last 400m in 57.5 as she won in 3:58.25 from Kenya’s Winny Chebet, second in 3:59.93, with Canada’s Gabriela Debues-Stafford breaking a national record with 4:00.26 in third.
It was a great day, too, for another Brit, as Laviai Nielsen ran an impressive European lead in the 400m on her home track.
Fourth at the European Championships in Berlin last summer, Nielsen’s progression goes on as she showed by smashing her personal best of 51.21 as she finished third in 50.83 behind Shericka Jackson, who won in 50.69 from fellow Jamaican Stephenie Ann McPherson in 50.74.