Norway’s Karsten Warholm broke Kevin Young’s 29-year-old 400m hurdles world record when he completed the race in 46.70 seconds in front of his home fans at the Diamond League meeting in Oslo on Thursday.
Warholm beat 1992 Olympic champion Young’s mark of 46.78secs, which was set four years before the Norwegian was born and was the longest-standing record in men’s track.
Twice world champion Warholm raced to an early lead and never let up as he was roared on all the way to the finishing line, which he crossed ahead of 2019 Pan American Games champion Alison dos Santos by more than six tenths of a second.
“I knew that I had a fast time in my body,” said Warholm. “It might take another world record to win the Olympics.”
The achievement capped a series of solid performances at the Diamond League meet, where two-time Olympic medallist Andre de Grasse won the men’s 200m in 20.09.
“I was happy with that today. There are a few things to work on but I only arrived a couple of days ago so my body still needs to adjust after the jet lag,” said the 26-year-old Canadian, who added that he planned “to bring some medals back” from the Tokyo Olympics.
Ivorian sprinter Marie-Josee Ta Lou torched the women’s 100m in 10.91, a solid showing ahead of Tokyo, where she will face a field overflowing with talent.
“When you start your season you just hope for no injuries, good training and to be ready for competition,” said Ta Lou. “There is a lot of great talent out there but I am always in competition with myself.”
Kenya’s Hellen Obiri, a silver medallist in Rio, won the 5,000m in 14:26.38 but made clear she wants to improve ahead of the Games, where she plans to compete in the 5,000m and 10,000m.
“I have a lot of speed work to do between now and then. I have worked hard on my endurance and now I need to concentrate on the last 300m,” said Obiri, who picked up her second consecutive world championship gold in 2019.
In the women’s 400m hurdles, 21-year-old Femke Bol clinched her second back-to-back Diamond League win in a personal best 53.33 seconds to extend her own national record for the Netherlands.
In the field events, world champion Kelsey-Lee Barber settled for third in the javelin with 59.30m, as German Christin Hussong won with 60.95m.
Sweden’s Armand Duplantis defeated world pole vault champion Sam Kendricks by clearing 6.01 metres.