All eyes were on double world 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm as the Bislett Games continued the 2021 Wanda Diamond League season on Thursday [July 1] in Oslo.

The Norwegian was relegated last week from No.2 to No.3 on the world all-time rankings after Rai Benjamin’s 46.83 victory in the US Team Trials in Eugene came agonisingly close to Kevin Young’s long-standing world record of 46.78 seconds.

In perfect conditions and in front of a home crowd of 5000, it was Warholm’s first Diamond League race of the summer, although he did race once indoors at 300m and this summer broke his own 300m hurdles world best with 33.26, which suggested something special was on the cards. And so it proved.

He started fantastically fast but kept his form well and apart from a slight stutter on the eighth hurdle on the final bend, he kept his form and powered down the straight to make history and finally eclipse the mark set by Young 29 years ago – and four years before the Norwegian was born – with 46.70.

After the race a delighted Warholm said: “I knew that I had a fast time in my body. It feels like it as been there for a long time but you never know when it is right to do it. And it is one thing to have it in you and another to go out and do it.

“It is very special to do it here in Bislett in front of a great crowd including my friends and family.

“This is my first 400m hurdles of the season so I really think there is more in the tank.

“It might take another world record to win the Olympics. There are such a lot of great guys out there at the moment who will all be aiming to do it and win gold. I am happy that there is such great competition.

“But I now have the world record and I am so happy!”

His clash with Benjamin could be the race of the Games in Tokyo. The duo are set to clash in the Diamond League in Monaco next week too.

Brazil’s Alison Dos Santos chased hard five metres down and set a South American record with 47.38 in second and former European champion Yasmani Copello set a season’s best of 48.86 but was well over two seconds down on the winner. Ireland’s Thomas Barr failed to finish.

Source: Steve Smythe