Warholm sates hunger with second world title

October 01, 2019 - 10:45
Karsten Warholm retained his 400 metres hurdles world title in impressive fashion on Monday.


Norway's Karsten Warholm retained his 400 metres hurdles world title and celebrated in typically exuberant style. — AFP Photo

DOHA — Karsten Warholm retained his 400 metres hurdles world title in impressive fashion on Monday.

The 23-year-old Norwegian -- who is on an unbeaten streak of 14 races -- came home clear of main rival Rai Benjamin timing 47.42 seconds with the American finishing in 47.66.

"This was a very tough race," Warholm told the BBC.

"I actually felt my heart was going to stop. I thought 'I'm going to die but it's going to be worth it'.

"This is only the beginning and I am very lucky to win".

The charismatic Warholm -- whose motto 'greed is good' is borrowed from Gordon Gekko, the fictional immoral financier in the Wall Street films -- came out for the race pumped up.

He let out a mighty roar and pumped his fists on his name being announced and burst from the blocks as he had Benjamin who was outside him in his sights.

Coming round the bend into the finishing straight Warholm had a clear lead over his American rival with British Virgin Islands Kyron McMaster in third.

Warholm did not tie up whilst Benjamin -- who had said prior to the championships if the Norwegian was Gekko he was the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) -- tried to claw back the deficit with his languid elegant stride.

However, the Norwegian powered over the final hurdles with Benjamin -- who along with Warholm had both gone under the magical 47sec barrier in a thrilling duel in Zurich last month -- holding on for second.

 'Trying to survive' 

Benjamin, son of former West Indies pace bowler Winston Benjamin, revealed afterward he had come close to scratching from the championships.

"I fell in practice three weeks ago and I was on crutches," said the 22-year-old.

"I was not entirely sure to run and a few days before I ran the heats (Friday) I was thinking of scratching for the entire meet.

"It has been rough and I came out for each round trying to survive.

"Luckily I came away with a silver medal and overcoming adversity in my first championships."

McMaster -- who had won an appeal to be reinstated in the final -- looked set for third but Qatar's Abderrahman Samba gave the home crowd something to shout about, edging him on the line to take bronze in 48.03.

"This bronze feels like gold because of the injury I had (hamstring)," said Samba.

"I wanted to leave an imprint on the season."

Warholm celebrated in typically exuberant fashion donning a Viking hat and brandishing the national flag.

However, Warholm -- who in 2017 became Norway's first world champion since Ingrid Kristiansen in 1987 -- acknowledged the chasing pack would come after him in even keener fashion next time round at the 2020 Olympics.

"It's deserved but in the future these guys will be tougher to beat," he said.

"Tomorrow I have to get up and work again. That is what I love.

"Norway is s small country. For me to be showing off on the world stage it's better than anything else." — AFP