Norwegian runs 46.70 world record in front of adoring crowd in Oslo while Eilish McColgan clocks British 5000m record and Stewart McSweyn breaks Oceania mile best

All eyes were on double world 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm as the Bislett Games continued the 2021 Wanda Diamond League season on Thursday (July 1) in Oslo.

The Norwegian was relegated last week from No.2 to No.3 on the world all-time rankings after Rai Benjamin’s 46.83 victory in the US Team Trials in Eugene came agonisingly close to Kevin Young’s long-standing world record of 46.78.

In perfect conditions and in front of a home crowd of 5000, it was Warholm’s first Diamond League race of the summer, although he did race once indoors at 300m and this summer broke his own 300m hurdles world best with 33.26, which suggested something special was on the cards. And so it proved.

He started fantastically fast but kept his form well and apart from a slight stutter on the eighth hurdle on the final bend, he kept his form and powered down the straight to make history and finally eclipse the mark set by Young 29 years ago – and four years before the Norwegian was born – with 46.70.

After the race a delighted Warholm said: “I knew that I had a fast time in my body. It feels like it as been there for a long time but you never know when it is right to do it. And it is one thing to have it in you and another to go out and do it.

Pic: Diamond League AG

“It is very special to do it here in Bislett in front of a great crowd including my friends and family.

“This is my first 400m hurdles of the season so I really think there is more in the tank.

“It might take another world record to win the Olympics. There are such a lot of great guys out there at the moment who will all be aiming to do it and win gold. I am happy that there is such great competition.

“But I now have the world record and I am so happy!”

His clash with Benjamin could be the race of the Games in Tokyo. The duo are set to clash in the Diamond League in Monaco next week too.

Brazil’s Alison Dos Santos chased hard five metres down and set a South American record with 47.38 in second and former European champion Yasmani Copello set a season’s best of 48.86 but was well over two seconds down on the winner. Ireland’s Thomas Barr failed to finish.

McColgan breaks Paula Radcliffe’s 5000m record

Eilish McColgan has been running superb times in recent years at 1500m, 3000m, 5000m and 10,000m but in Oslo she moved up a level completely as she broke Paula Radcliffe’s British record and gave the top-class African opposition some real competition.

The pacing was perfect with 70 seconds for pretty much every lap. Kate Van Buskirk led the opening kilometre in 2:55.50 but world champion Hellen Obiri was ahead at 2000m (5:50.46) and 3000m (8:45.87) and it was down to five athletes. McColgan was at the back and she moved up to fourth as world junior champion Beatrice Jebet began to drop off slightly after 4000m was passed in 11:40.43.

Margaret Kipkemboi was fourth in the Kenyan trials and she went ahead but a 69.62 penultimate lap did no real damage and on the last lap it was Obiri who predictably went clear as she completed the final circuit in 61.26 to win in a season’s best 14:26.80. She was chased home by Ethiopia’s trials fourth placer Fantu Worku who ran a PB 14:26.80.

Kipkemboi held on for third but she was chased all the way to the line by McColgan who stretched out well on the last lap only losing contact with Obiri on the last turn. Her reward for a 63 last lap and 2:47 final kilometre was 14:28.55, which took just over half a second off Paula Radcliffe’s 14:29.12 set when winning the European Cup in Bydgoszcz in 2004.

McColgan’s previous best was 14:46.17 in finishing 10th in the 2019 World Championships at Doha. There was criticism that the Scot missed the trials at the weekend but she argued she had taken part in the 10,000m trials, and this run may not have been possible if she had a hard trials race.

 

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She said: “I couldn’t be happier with that British record. The last kilometre was fast out there but it brought out the competitiveness in me. It really has been a long time coming. My race times haven’t reflected my training which has been going really well.

“My aim in Tokyo will be a PB. I know there are some fast girls out there – their speeds make me giddy.”

Fast 3000m from Yejelcha

Double world indoor champion Yomif Kejelcha has been around so long it’s hard to believe he is still aged just 23. Though he gained world silver medal at 10,000m in Doha, his form had generally been better indoors with a 3:47.01 world mile record the best but he looks in awesome shape by the manner in which he ran a Diamond League 3000m record and world lead to go seventh all-time.

The first kilometre led by Vincent Kibet was a modest 2:32.04 before the Ethiopian began to up the pace. After a 60.40 lap a mile out, he then stepped it up to 58.44 and then 58.40 to the bell.
Jakob Krop was able to go with this acceleration but Kejelcha hadn’t finished and his last lap was a vicious 56.35 and the clock stopped at a sensational 7:26.35.

He said: “I am working hard for the Olympics but it will be very difficult as there is a lot of competition. I have no more competitions now before Tokyo so I will just train hard.”

His last four laps had been 3:53.59. The first seven set PBs and Krop held on for a 20-second PB to run 7:30.07 while Nicholas Kimeli who is expected to lead the Kenyan challenge at 5000m in Tokyo was third in 7:31.33. Filip Ingebrigtsen was a solid fifth in 7:34.00.

All season – indoors and out – Femke Bol has been setting Dutch records and here she scored another as the European Indoor 400m champion improved her 400m hurdles mark from 53.44 to 53.33 as she again proved herself the most likely challenger to the Americans in Tokyo and she sits third on prospective entrants for Japan.

She looked in full control until the last 80 metres but though tiring, kept her form and moved away from the opposition which was led by European silver medallist Anna Ryzhykova, who set a PB of 54.15 in second.

Ukraine also took third through Viktoriya Tkachuk’s 54.62.

The Dutch athlete said: “I am really pleased to take another national record but I do think I can go faster. It would be good to be able to have someone to chase so I can get closer to that sub 52 mark.

“My ambition this year is to make the Olympic final as it is my first Olympics. I want to do well in the 4x400m as well.”

Mondo Duplantis, Sam Kendricks and Renaud Lavillenie clashed in a quality men’s pole vault.

Duplantis was again over six metres with a 6.01m victory and then attempted a world record 6.19m which he didn’t come that close to. World champion Kendricks was second with a third-time clearance at 5.91m while former Olympic champion and world record-holder Lavillenie was third with a 5.81m leap.

McSweyn’s mile is a dream

The Dream Mile was renamed the Svein Arne Hansen Dream Mile in memory of the former Bislett Games meet director and European Athletics president who died last year.

Stewart McSweyn proved a clear winner as he set a new Oceanian record and world lead of 3:48.37.

Mounir Akbache set a good pace of 56.49 and 1:53.28 for the first two laps and the Australian bravely took over to pass 1200m in 2:50.78 well clear of his pursuers led by Kenyan trials winner Charles Simotwo.

On the last lap briefly his Australian rival Jye Edwards kicked into second and looked like he was closing but McSweyn held on to win by around five metres with Doha medallist Marcin Lewandowski finishing fast on the inside to snatch second in a Polish record 3:49.11. Edwards (3:49.27) and Simotwo (3:49.40) were also inside 3:50 with their PBs.

The Australian said: “My season is going in the right direction going into the Olympics. I want to try and stay healthy going into Tokyo. I still have a few things to work on.

“The 1500m is going to be a really tight competition but I am confident going into it. I did consider doubling up with the 5000m but the heats are all too close together and I don’t feel strong enough yet for that.

“I felt in good shape going into tonight and this has proved that. I really wanted to do well for Svein (Arne Hansen) and for Murray who we all knew from this meeting so well and we miss so much. That gave extra fire to do well tonight.”

Pic: Diamond League AG

Charlie Grice followed McSweyn through the first kilometre but faded slightly on the last lap to finish ninth in 3:54.97 having been third at the bell.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen was due to race but withdrew with a sore throat.

Former double world silver medallist Marie Josée Ta Lou set a season’s best of 10.91 in the women’s 100m with Britain’s Daryll Neita finishing strongly for second and just missing her 11.04 PB with 11.06. Among her scalps were European 60m champion Ajla Del Ponte (11.16) and US trials runner-up Javianne Oliver (11.18) who ran 10.96 in Eugene.

Kate Grace had only been seventh in the loaded US Trials 800m but here she won easily in a big PB of 1:57.60 after the pacemaker took them through 400m in 57.14 and then the 600m time was 87.71 as world champion Halimah Nakaayi, showing the best form since Doha, led.

Grace proved far too strong in the straight but the Ugandan, who largely went unnoticed prior to Doha, ran an ominous 1:58.70 while the Swiss Lore Hoffmann set a PB 1:59.06 in third.

Adelle Tracey finished seventh in 2:00.82.

Double Olympic sprint medallist Andre De Grasse had not competed since the Doha Diamond League in May but he looked far from rusty as he powered away down the finishing straight to win in 20.09 almost three metres clear of fellow Canadian Aaron’s Brown 20.38. Isaac Makwala was a distant third in 20.61.

World leader Maria Andrejczyk had the best throw of an underwhelming women’s javelin competition – a 62.67m in round five – but in the final three sixth round she threw only 60.35m.
European Champion Christin Hussong had a best of 62.62m but a 60.95m last throw gave her victory in the controversial Diamond League ruling.

World champion Kelsey-Lee Barber came close to her season’s best with 60.86 in the fifth round but only managed 59.30m. World record-holder and double Olympic champion Barbora Špotáková was fourth with a solid 60.38m.

World leader and world champion Daniel Stahl led the men’s discus line-up and he was two metres better than anyone else in the earlier part of the competition with a 68.65m fifth round throw but it was a lot closer in the final round of three as his 65.72m was matched by fellow 70m thrower Kristjan Čeh to the centimetre! The Slovenian only threw 66.68m in the earlier rounds though so the official winner was Stahl.

Lukas Wesshaidinger was third with a 65.67m fourth round and a 61.03m in the final round.

There was also the right winning result in the women’s long jump with world champion Malaika Mihambo jumping a 6.86m second round but an almost as good 6.83m in the final round.

Nastassia Mironchyk-Ivanova jumped 6.72m in the early part of the contest but she only managed 6.58m in the last and thus was overhauled by world indoor champion Ivana Spanovic who jumped 6.66m earlier but 6.61m in the final round.

Jazmin Sawyers was unable to match her British trials form and was fourth with an opening round 6.46m while Abigail Irozuru was sixth with a 6.35m leap.

Algerian Mohammed Yasser Triki won an otherwise mediocre men’s triple jump with a 17.24m opener and then a 17.23m final round as his two opponents Andy Diaz and Tiago Pereira no jumped their final leaps after earlier respective jumps of 16.78m and 16.64m.

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