Norwegian Karsten Warholm runs European 400m hurdles record during an eventful first day at the Müller Anniversary Games
Karsten Warholm promised to entertain the crowd on the first day of the Müller Anniversary Games in London and the Norwegian kept his word with a European 400m hurdles record of 47.12.
Returning to the scene of his world title winning exploits in 2017, the 23-year-old blasted around the London Stadium to go No.7 on the all-time world rankings as he improved his continental mark of 47.33.
Only world record-holder Kevin Young, with 46.78 from 1992, plus Abderrahman Samba, Ed Moses, Rai Benjamin, Bryan Bronson and Samuel Matete have run quicker, although Warholm believes he can go faster later this summer.
With Samba and Benjamin in such good form this year, the men’s 400m hurdles final in Doha will be one of the races of the championships – and Young’s 27-year-old world record is in danger.
“I always try to surprise but at the same time it’s not a given,” said Warholm, who beat Yasmani Copello (48.93) into second. “It takes hard work, dedication and a lot for me to get out those extraordinary times. I feel really good, but at the same time it’s a long time until the championships. I’ll try to do my own thing. Do what I think is the best.”
Another Norwegian to shine at this London leg of the Diamond League series was Jakob Ingebrigtsen. Still only 18, he clocked a European under-20 and Norwegian senior record of 13:02.03 just behind Hagos Gebrhiwet (13:01.86) (pictured below) who had won the Ethiopian world 10,000m trial in 26:48.95 in Hengelo just three days earlier.
Andy Butchart also excelled in the 12-and-a-half laps race as he improved his Scottish record to 13:06.21. “I’ll take that,” he said.
Behind, Ben Connor (13:19.47) and Alex Yee (13:29.18) clocked PBs as well with Connor’s time being a qualifying mark for Doha.
Zharnel Hughes also delighted the British crowd as he clocked 9.95 to finish runner-up behind Akani Simbine of South Africa’s 9.93 in the 100m. Yohan Blake, Yuki Koike and Andre De Grasse broke the 10-second barrier, too, while Adam Gemili made a fine return from injury to run 10.04 in sixth.
More dramatic, however, was James Ellington’s comeback after serious injuries sustained in a motorbike accident in January 2017. Many felt he would never run competitively again but the 33-year-old defied expectations with a 10.93 clocking on Saturday and says his true goal is to make the Olympic team next year.
“I am lapping every moment of it up,” Ellington said. “But I’m going to go back to the drawing board and try to sort these injuries out.
“I have had a back problem three days ago and I could not walk but there was no way I was going to miss this race. Yesterday I started to feel a bit better but in the warm up I started to feel pain and I walked out limping but I was not missing this.”
The men’s 800m also saw several brilliant British performances behind winner Ferguson Rotich – the Kenyan winning in 1:43.14 (pictured below). These were led by Jamie Webb, who smashed his 1:45.73 to clock 1:44.52 for 10th on the UK all-time rankings. “I don’t care who I’ve passed on the all-time lists,” he said. “All that matters is that I beat my club record (at Liverpool Harriers) held by Curtis Robb!”
Kyle Langford also clocked a PB of 1:44.97 – a remarkable performance given the fact he missed two weeks’ training recently after injuring his knee stretching before a meeting in Marseille at the start of July.
There was disappointment for Nijel Amos, though. The Botswanan ran 1:41.89 in Monaco this month but did not finish here after pulling up in the back straight. “I’ll be back!” he shouted in upbeat fashion as he was wheeled off the track by medics.
A high quality long jump saw a win for world champion Luvo Manyonga – the South African jumping 8.37m to defeat Jamaican Tajay Gayle, who set a PB 8.32m. In the triple jump, meanwhile, Pedro Pablo Pichardo – now representing Portugal – won with 17.53m from Christian Taylor’s 17.19m.
Toward the end of the first of two days at the London Stadium, Jonnie Peacock delighted the crowd with a 10.70 victory in the T44-64 100m.
» For news from the women’s events at the Anniversary Games, see here.