Karsten Warholm of Norway returned to the top of the global medal podium, racing to his third victory in the 400-metres hurdles at the World Athletics Championships on Wednesday.
The world record holder and Olympic champion pulled away from American Rai Benjamin heading into the home straight to win in 46.89, spreading his arms wide in celebration.
The 27-year-old won the 2017 and 2019 world championships, but struggled to seventh at the worlds last season in Eugene when he was hampered by a hamstring injury.
“It feels incredibly good to have the gold around my neck again,” Warholm told Norwegian broadcaster NRK. “I fought all I could in the last 100 metres.”
Kyron McMaster won silver in 47.34 to earn the first world championships medal for the British Virgin Islands.
“This means the world to my country - I have been chasing this medal since 2017,” McMaster said. “For so many years, I have been chasing a medal, but (it is) not the ultimate medal, because that is a gold.”
Benjamin, silver medallist both last year in Eugene and at the Tokyo Olympics, faded to take bronze in 47.56.
“I do not know what happened. I am proud of myself but I just wanted more. I want to prove I have it in me,” Benjamin said. “It has been a very tough season, dealing with a quadriceps injury, a lot of changes, a lot of distractions. I lost a close friend of mine. It was just tough.”
Warholm, running out of Lane 7, and Benjamin, on his inside in Lane 6, hit through the first seven hurdles in perfect synchronization before the Norwegian found another gear.
“I know that there is no one else who can do the first part of the race as fast as I can. And if they do, they will have a hard time at the end,” said Warholm, who was given a Viking hat from a Norwegian fan during his victory lap.
“Today, unlike other races I’ve had, I felt like I was a bit sneaky and was waiting. And then I took it at the end, which people don’t think I can do. But I also have it in the toolbox when needed.”
Warholm’s time of 45.94 in Tokyo obliterated his own world record, but since tearing his hamstring six weeks before last year’s worlds, he has had to make a steady climb back to the top.
He has been unbeaten this season and hurdled to a season’s best 46.51 at the Monaco Diamond League on July 21, the second fastest time of his career.
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