16 August, 2019

Karsten Warholm, prince of the 400m hurdles

Norway will be well represented at the Meeting de Paris. Jakob and Filip Ingebrigtsen will be in attendance, but one of the headline acts at the Parisian meeting will be compatriot Karsten Warholm. Securing a new European record twice over in the 400m hurdles (47’’33 in Oslo then 47’’12 in London), he’s sent a clear message to his main rivals, Qatari athlete Abderrahman Samba, the second best performer in history, and American Rai Benjamin, 47’’16 this season.

Though the mission to retain his world title in Doha promises to be spicy with both these athletes, the European champion 2018 in the 400m hurdles has been performing well on multiple occasions this season. In the three Diamond League meetings in which he has participated, he has reduced his time at each event (47’’85 in Stockholm, 47’’33 in Oslo and 47’’12 in London). What time will he run on 24 August? Last year, Warholm finished third behind Abderrahman Samba, author of the second best performance in history that particular day with 46’’98. This performance is seriously under threat in 2019.

If the Viking of the track continues with his current form, the Meeting Record might well be in his line of sight before he attacks the world record. The time of 46’’78 posted by the American Kevin Young in 1992 could be set to fall this year. Will the fortune go to Warholm, Samba or Benjamin? Whatever happens, the final of the Worlds in Doha promises to be a showstopper, the likes of which have eluded the distance for some years. And the Meeting de Paris is one of the last legs for a chance to shine and impress the competition before the showdown in Qatar.