OSTRAVA, Czech Republic: Norway’s Karsten Warholm came up just short again in his latest bid to claim Kevin Young’s 28-year old world record in the 400 metres hurdles as a light breeze and late stutter blew him off course at the Ostrava Golden Spike meeting on Tuesday.
The double world champion missed his chance for Olympic glory this year with the postponement of the Tokyo Games so instead has focused on the long-standing world record – getting within a tenth of a second of it in Stockholm two weeks ago.
He had announced his intention to have another go on Tuesday and though he won easily, his 47.62 seconds time was almost a second off American Young’s mark of 46.78 set at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
The meet organisers brought Warholm’s event forward by 90 minutes due to concerns over increasing wind but it was still a touch breezy, a condition that affected his performance.
“It was nice of them to bring it forward but there was still a bit of a headwind early on so I was a bit tired going into hurdle nine and had to switch to 15 steps,” he said.
The 24-year-old Warholm, unusually, prefers to run in one of the outside lanes, explaining that not only does it protect him from the weather but it means “nothing impacts you that can ruin a race or make you lose focus.”
One woman who never has to worry about a lack of concentration is Britain’s Laura Muir, who led the women’s 800m from 300m out to finish well clear in 1:58.84.
She crossed the line almost at the precise moment that South Africa’s double Olympic champion Caster Semenya announced she had lost her appeal against a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling that she cannot compete over the distance unless she takes testosterone suppressant medication.
Jake Wightman, who two weeks ago became the second-fastest Briton behind Mo Farah in the 1,500m, delivered a perfectly judged late surge to win the men’s 800 in a personal best time of 1:44.18 to complete a British double.
There was also the unusual sight of some of the world’s top sprinters going over 150 metres. Ivorian Arthur Cisse won the men’s event in 15.15 seconds, while Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers won the women’s race in 16.56.
Her compatriot Sifan Hassan showed no signs of fatigue from the hour world record she set last week as she produced a roaring last lap to win the 5,000 in 14:37.85. Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo used the same tactics to win the men’s race in 12:48.63.