Karsten Warholm powered to the second fastest 400m hurdles performance of all time to highlight the Bauhaus Galan Wanda Diamond League meeting in Stockholm on Sunday (23).
Running in lane eight, Warholm went out in his typically rampaging style, building a visible lead by the third hurdle. He then added to it with each stride, powering off the final bend and into the home straight very much alone, showing no signs of slowing down. For some moments, Kevin Young’s 46.78 world record, set at the Barcelona Olympic Games 28 years ago, looked to be under serious threat.
But it didn’t come to pass after the 24-year-old Norwegian clipped the final barrier, costing him valuable ticks of the clock. He nonetheless did claw his way closer to Young’s venerable performance, clocking 46.87 to break his own European record by 0.05 seconds and solidify his No.2 position on the world all-time list.
“I hit that last hurdle because I went really hard for the first nine, and stuff like this happens,” said Warholm, who sped to a 47.10 performance in his season’s opener in Monaco just over one week ago.
“But I think I was rewarded by just going all in at the end and I got a great time. It's a great lesson for me to always run until the finish line.”
Frenchman Wilfried Happio was second in 49.14, just ahead of compatriot Ludvy Vaillant who clocked 49.18.
But he wasn’t finished. Warholm chose to double back 94 minutes later in the 400m and won big there as well, clocking 45.05, well clear of Slovenia’s Luka Janezic who clocked 45.85.
Muir impresses in 2020 1500m debut
Warholm’s was one of four world leads on the day. Laura Muir produced another, obliterating a solid field in the 1500m in 3:57.86.
“It went really well,” Muir said. “My strength is my endurance and I really wanted to run fast today.”
After three outdoor races this season over shorter distances - including a 2:30.82 1000m national record in Monaco - Muir proved herself valiantly over her best.
Running near the front from the outset, the Scot moved up to third with two laps to go before taking the lead for good three strides before reaching the bell for the final time. From there, she quickly gapped the field as she entered the back straight, forging on with a 59.86 final lap.
Laura Weightman was second in 4:01.62, just ahead of compatriot Melissa Courtney-Bryant 4:01.81, a season’s best for the former and personal best for the latter.
In the men’s race, which capped the meeting, Timothy Cheruiyot illustrated yet again that he’s the finest 1500m runner on the planet. The world champion didn’t run quite as quickly as he had hoped, but did show that at the moment, he’s unstoppable.
Taking command when the final pacesetter stepped aside with 500 metres to go, Cheruiyot ploughed on, with Stewart McSweyn and Jakob Ingebrigtsen in tow. The Norwegian teenager moved past the Australian over the final lap, but found no answer to Cheruiyot’s finishing strength. Closing with a 55.55 final lap, Cheruiyot reached the finish line in 3:30.25, with Ingebrigtsen second in 3:30.74. McSweyn’s persistence was rewarded with a 3:31.48 career best for third.
Duplantis tops 6.01m, Mahuchikh 2.00m
Armand Duplantis added a centimetre to his 2020 outdoor world lead with a big first-attempt clearance at 6.01m, to take down the 5.95m meeting record set by Rodion Gataullin in 1989. He then had the bar raised to 6.15m, aiming to supplant Sergei Bubka as history’s highest vaulter outdoors.
That quest began with a solid first attempt, but battling the swirling winds that affected most events throughout the afternoon, he couldn’t pull off another attempt.
“The meet record was really important to me,” the young Swede said, but added that not going higher left some 2020 business unfinished.
“I want to jump 6.15m. Nobody’s jumped higher than that outdoors. I want to be in that shape again to jump those high bars. I think a lot people thought that I couldn’t get back into world record shape this summer, and I want to show people that I can do it again.”
Belgian Ben Broeders was second at 5.73m, a season’s best.
In the women’s high jump, Yaroslava Mahuchikh avenged her loss to compatriot Yuliya Levchenko from earlier in the week, taking the win with a third-attempt clearance at 2.00m to equal the world lead. The 18-year-old Ukrainian went on with a fine first-attempt clearance at 2.03m, a height ultimately out of her reach today.
Levchenko topped 1.98m for second.
Holly Bradshaw of Great Britain took the women's pole vault after a third-attempt clearance at 4.69m to collect the first Diamond League victory of her career. Angelica Bengtsson of Sweden was second at 4.62m.
World discus champion Daniel Stahl won his 12th straight competition of the season, courtesy of a 69.17m effort in the second round.
"I felt pretty powerful, and everything over 68 metres now for me is good, so I'm pretty satisfied with the results today," Stahl said. "The technique wasn't the best so I'm happy with it."
Swedish compatriot Simon Pettersson came closest to unseating Stahl, reaching a lifetime best of 67.72m in the fifth round. Andrius Gudzius, the 2017 world champion, was third with 66.80m.
Brazier and Reekie take 800m wins
Donavan Brazier and Jemma Reekie continued their successful, if abbreviated, 800m seasons with impressive wins.
Running mid-pack over the first lap, Brazier took to the front at the top of the home straight to finish unchallenged in 1:43.76.
"Given the way I felt, I'd give myself a good grade," Brazier said, explaining that he simply felt a little listless all day. "But I don't know if my coach would."
Canada's Marco Arop was second, clocking 1:44.67.
Reekie's run was even more commanding. Entering the homestretch with a sizable lead, she added a couple more metres to it before crossing the line in 1:59.68. Raevyn Rogers of the US was next with a 2:01.02 season's best.
Meanwhile, Femke Bol keeps on rolling in the women’s 400m hurdles.
Battling some shifting winds on the backstretch and final bend, the 20-year-old Dutchwoman cruised to a solid 54.68 victory, her fourth in as many races this season and her first Diamond League victory.
“I really wanted to do a fast first 200, but I don’t think it was very fast, so I’m happy with the win,” said Bol, who clocked her 53.78 world lead on 18 July.
Anna Ryzhkova of Ukraine was a distant second in 55.19.
Bekh-Romanchuk and Samaai take long jump show-downs
Victories in the long jump came down to the final jump - by design, thanks to an experiment with a jump-off style show-down dubbed the 'Final Three', with the top three jumpers after five rounds earning a sixth, decisive leap.
The competition did fuel Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk, who produced the best jump of the competition in the final round, reaching a season's best of 6.85m. Caterine Ibarguen was second with 6.61m, also her best leap of the day. Swede Khaddi Sagnia was third, reaching just 5.73m in the last round after a 6.83m leap in the second round secured her spot in the jump-off.
Ruswahl Samaai of South Africa took the men's with an 8.09m jump, defeating Sweden's Thobias Montler who reached 8.06m in the sixth round. The Swede, however, had the longest jump of the day, an 8.13m effort in the second round. Finn Kristian Pulli, the third jumper to earn a sixth jump, fouled on his final attempt.
Elsewhere, Wadeline Jonathas took her second 400m victory of the week, holding off fast-closing Briton Laviai Nielsen 51.94 to 52.16. Alja Del Ponte won the 100m for the second weekend in a row, clocking 11.20. Adam Gemili took the men’s 200m in a wind-assisted 20.61 and Italy's Luminosa Boglioli won a national level 100m hurdles contest in 12.88.
Keeping in line with Sweden’s restrictions on public gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic, the meeting was held behind closed doors but broadcast or live streamed to more than 150 countries.
Bob Ramsak for World Athletics