Athletics News

Karsten Warholm wins the hard way in Istanbul

Karsten Warholm wins the hard way in Istanbul

Norwegian speeds through 200m in 20.84 before hanging on to clock 45.35 for 400m gold at the European Indoor Champs on Saturday

Any 400m runner knows it’s good to get into pole position at the end of the first lap in an indoor race. Anyone attacking from behind finds it difficult to overtake – and the bends in the Ataköy Athletics Arena in Istanbul are particularly tight.

Karsten Warholm employed these tactics in the men’s 400m final at the European Indoor Championships on Saturday (March 4) but took it to the extreme with a near-suicidal first 200m of 20.84. The Norwegian 400m hurdles world record-holder held on to win, but it looked painful as he ran his second 200m in 24.51 as Julien Watrin almost caught him on the line after running a Belgian record of 45.44 for silver.

Karsten Warholm (Getty)

“It was stupid but it’s me wanting probably a bit too much,” said Warholm, his legs still swimming with lactic moments after the race. “But that’s also the athlete who has got me to where I am today.

“I’m glad I got away with the gold medal. I gave it probably a little bit too much but it’s the way I am and that’s how I do it. I’m not disappointed with that. It’s me trying and testing things and to get a gold medal was the main goal today.”

Carl Bengtstrom of Sweden took bronze in 45.77 as defending champion Oscar Husillos of Spain was fourth in 46.24 – just two hundredths of a second slower than the time he ran in 2021 to claim the title.

Bad news for Warholm’s rivals in the 400m flat is that the Norwegian plans to run more races minus barriers. “I like running without hurdles and I’m going to do more of it in the future,” he said.

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