Norwegian Warholm earns breakthrough 400m hurdles win
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[August 10, 2017]
By Ian Chadband
LONDON (Reuters) - Norway's Karsten
Warholm announced himself as one of the sport's brightest new
powerhouses as he recorded a magnificent gun-to-line triumph to lift
the world 400 meters hurdles title in the pouring rain on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old former decathlete demonstrated all the strength he
has acquired from competing in the multi-event discipline as he led
from the first hurdle and held off his pursuers on the home straight
to win in 48.35 seconds.
Still effectively a novice at the "man-killer" event, the youngster
clasped his face in disbelief as it dawned that he had beaten
Turkey's European champion Yasmani Copello (48.49) into the silver
Warholm also spoiled Olympic champion and favorite Kerron Clement's
dream of becoming the first man to win three world titles at the
discipline as the 31-year-old American had to settle for bronze in
It was the first track victory at any World Championships by a
Norwegian since Ingrid Kristiansen's 10,000 meters triumph in Rome
in 1987 and Warholm's smile of incredulity said it all.
"I truly don't believe it. I've worked so hard for this but I don't
know what I've done. This is an amazing feeling," he told the
55,000-strong crowd after somebody gave him a viking helmet to wear
on his lap of honor.
"I found the helmet in the crowd and it just felt right. I thought
it was suitable for the occasion. It is cold and wet like Norway so
I guess it suited me!"
Warholm had been touted as one of the bright new faces of global
athletics all year, especially after sending his compatriots into
raptures at his home Bislett Games in Oslo in June when he
triumphed, breaking the national record in 48.25 seconds.
That he should finish just a 10th of a second outside that mark on a
wretched night with the rain tumbling down and puddles on the track
suggests it was a superior run.
"I'm world champion, that's crazy. A lot of hard work and dedication
has got me here so thank you to my coach (Arve Hatloy) for getting
me in a position to challenge for a world title."
[to top of second column]
Karsten Warholm of Norway reacts after winning the final.
Warholm, world champion in the octathlon just three years ago,
decided on a simple tactic from the gun, taking out the pace as hard
as he could and holding on for dear life.
It was a joyous ride, which only really looked as if it might be
upset in the run-in by Qatar's little-known Abderrahaman Samba who
was timing his run well until hitting the last barrier.
"I got out well and managed to hold it really well," said Warholm.
"I'm so proud of my performance. I hope people back in Norway are as
happy as I am.
"Decathlon gave me a really good base coming into the hurdles. All
the credit goes to my coach for making me a world class hurdler."
What had looked almost certainly like a medal-winning run turned
into a seventh-place finish for Samba as Turkey's Cuban-born Copello
cashed in to finish second.
Clement had said how much he enjoyed the challenge of the youngsters
but his bid faltered as he stuttered before the last.
"My legs just weren't there off the last hurdle and that cost me the
gold. You can see I came off it pretty badly. On another day I would
have won but I'm happy to add another medal," Clement said.
He had, though, only praise for the man who looks like the future of
"He is a talent and showed that today," Clement said.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)
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