Norway’s Karsten Warholm broke his European record on a blustery afternoon in the Stockholm Diamond League on Sunday (23) afternoon with 46.87 and he might have even taken the world record of 46.78 with a cleaner tenth hurdle.
But what is abundantly clear is Kevin Young’s long-standing world record of 46.78 from the 1992 Olympic Games is within his reach. The Norwegian blasted to a 47.10 clocking in Monaco last Friday (11) and he duly altered his racing plans to have another crack against the clock in the specialist event.
Initially planning to contest the 400m in Stockholm which was billed as a European record attempt, Warholm added the 400m hurdles to his itinerary and the reigning world and European champion came closer than anyone has done to breaking Young’s revered world record, setting the second fastest time in history with 46.87.
Opting for lane eight as opposed to his favoured lane seven, Warholm attacked the race in his trademark rumbustious style and he rounded into the home straight with a massive lead. His momentum was only halted after clattering the tenth hurdle and this surely cost him the one-tenth which would have brought him below the world record.
Warholm gave a rueful grin as he saw confirmation of his time but his 46.87 clocking still shaved five-hundredths from his European record. And from a historical standpoint Warholm became the first athlete in history to have broken the 47 second-barrier in the 400m hurdles twice.
“To be honest when I hit the last hard, I was thinking ‘my race is gone’ but looking at the clock and seeing 46.87, it was a huge feeling and of course I am proud. Me and my coach have been working really hard through this time and I am really proud to accomplish these things,” said Warholm who travelled from Oslo to Stockholm in a camper van as a precaution with coronavirus infection rates still relatively high in Sweden.
After a lactic-inducing effort in the 400m hurdles, Warholm would have needed superhuman powers of recovery to break his second European record of the day in the 400m but the reigning European indoor champion still notched up his second win of the afternoon - from lane eight again - in the penultimate event of the programme.
Warholm’s bountiful strength came into play again as he pulled away convincingly in the last 100 metres to win in 45.05 ahead of Slovenia’s Luka Janezic, who defeated Warholm in the 400m at the 2017 European U23 Championships, in 45.85.
All-time sub-47 second 400m hurdles performances:46.78 Kevin Young (USA) - 6 August 1992, Barcelona
46.87 Karsten Warholm (NOR) - 23 August 2020, Stockholm
46.92 Karsten Warholm (NOR) - 29 August 2019, Zurich
46.98 Abderrahman Samba (QAT) - 30 June 2018, Paris
46.98 Rai Benjamin (USA) - 29 August 2019, Zurich
Duplantis improves world outdoor lead to 6.01m
Armand Duplantis is beginning to approach the form which saw him break the world record twice during an indoor season in which he also surpassed the six metre-barrier in each of his five competitions.
After clearing 6.00m on his third attempt in the Monaco Diamond League, Duplantis sailed over a meeting record of 6.01m on his first attempt at the Stockholm Olympic Stadium - his fourth successive first-time clearance of the competition.
“I felt good, I had a little bit of a slow start to the outdoor season but I'm getting into the rhythm of things. I just want to get back into the shape where I feel I can make 6.00m more than that. I wanted to make my first attempt and try to secure the victory,” he said.
Duplantis also had three attempts at a prospective world outdoor record of 6.15m.
After a midweek defeat over 800m in Bydgoszcz, Laura Muir stormed to a world leading time in the 1500m. The four-time European indoor champion closely tracked the pacemakers before cutting loose on the penultimate lap, powering to victory in 3:57.86 to win by nearly four seconds from her compatriots Laura Weightman (4:01.62) and Melissa Courtney-Bryant (4:01.81).
Reigning world high jump silver medallist Yaroslava Mahuchikh also avenged her midweek defeat to Ukrainian compatriot Yulia Levchenko in the high jump. Mahuchikh was already leading on countback at 1.98m but the teenager ended up winning by one clear height courtesy of a third-time clearance at 2.00m to match Levchenko’s world lead.
Mahuchikh has aspirations of jumping much higher during the remainder of the season though. “My goal for this season is a personal best and a new world junior record,” she said. Mahuchikh holds the world U20 record with 2.04m.
There was another Ukrainian victory in the women’s long jump for European silver medallist Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk who jumped 6.85m in the sixth round.
There was another notable victory for Switzerland’s Ajla Del Ponte who won her tenth successive 100m race of the season in 11.20 while her training partner Femke Bol also extended her win streak in the 400m hurdles, clocking 54.68 to handily defeat Ukraine’s European silver medallist Hanna Ryzhykova in 55.19.