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,” he said.

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.

More to follow…

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