The oldest world record in athletics has been smashed. Indeed, the 400 m hurdles reference time of 46’’78 had been the property of American Kevin Young since 1992 and the Barcelona Olympics. Karsten Warholm wasn’t even born until four years later, in 1996. However, Thursday evening’s Wanda Diamond League meeting in Oslo saw the 25-year-old Norwegian rewriting history by taking the win in 46’’70.
“I’ve known for ages that I had a fast time in me, but pulling it off was a whole different story, responded the double world champion after his race. It was just the perfect moment; everyone was talking about it as it heralded the return of spectators in Bislett.” Shooting out of the starting blocks as usual, this time Warholm managed to go all the way in what was his first 400 m hurdles of the season. He outpaced the promising Brazilian Alison dos Santos, who posted a stunning time of 47’’38, a continental record. The best new reference of all time might only last a matter of days too because, on 9 July, the Norwegian will be competing in Monaco against American Rai Benjamin, who clocked up 46’’83 last week in Eugene (Oregon) during the US Trials.
Positioned in lane 8, just ahead of Warholm, the athlete from Martinique’s AC Saléen club, Ludvy Vaillant, managed to stay in the race until the start of the home straight. Gearing up for a time of around 49’’, he unfortunately fluffed his last but two hurdle and was forced to retire from the race.
The Lavillenies earn their place
The Lavillenie brothers enjoyed greater success in the pole vault. With Swede Armand Duplantis sailing through the competition once more, clearing 6.01 m before failing at a potential new world record of 6.19 m, the jumpers from Clermont Athlétisme Auvergne put up a creditable performance. Assisted by the crossbar, which vibrated but stayed on the supports on Thursday evening, Renaud had to have three attempts at it after joining the competition at 5.51 m. Demonstrating a real fighting spirit, the double Olympic medallist also had to battle to clear 5.71 m (success on his 2nd attempt), before going on to jump 5.81 m on his first attempt. He finally stumbled at a height of 5.91 m, which American Sam Kendricks managed to clear to take second place. Valentin also had a complicated competition but kept his head down and cleared 5.51 m and 5.71 m on his third attempt.
The final Frenchman in the competition, Mouhamadou Fall (Entente Franconville Cesame Val d’Oise) had to make do with sixth place in the 200 m in 20’’92 (-1m/s), a long way shy of Canadian Andre de Grasse (20’’09). His loping strides are not easy to accommodate in lane 2.
Kejelcha runs a negative split
Among the other notable results, Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha posted the seventh best performance in the world of all time in the 3,000 m in 7’26’’25, thanks to an impressive negative split (last 1,000 m in 2’24!). The women’s 800 m was also very quick with first place going to American Kate Grace in 1’57’’60. In the sprinting, Stade Français athlete from the Ivory Coast Marie-Josée Ta Lou raised her game to take victory down the home straight in 10’’91 (-0.3m/s).