Warholm is European Champion after the run of his life
Karsten Warholm tackled the pressure of being the biggest favourite. The World Champion secured the gold medal on the 400-metre hurdles during the European Championship and set a Norwegian record of 47.64. – It was gold or nothing, he said afterwards.
The hurdle star from Ulsteinvik went out hard from the word go and beat Yasmani Copello from Turkey with 17 hundreds of a second. With that time, Warholm lowered his own Norway record by one-hundredth of a second. Thomas Barr from Ireland secured the bronze medal at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, built for the games in 1936.
Warholm was put under pressure by Copello, but after the last hurdle he virtually flew past the Turk and could cheer for both the gold medal and his fastest time on the distance ever.
– It was heavy conditions today. It cost a lot, and Copello was pushing me almost all the way to the finishing line. I had prepared myself and was ready for what was coming. “Run like there is no tomorrow”, Alnes told me. I did just that, Warholm told NRK.
– I train every day, and with the kind of days as it was today, it is wickedly worth it. One must always stay hungry. It motivates me that everyone in Ulsteinvik is at home and watching me on the TV. Only it (the gold medal) was on my mind, he added.
Gold as ordered
In the stadium, almost 40.000 spectators witnessed Warholms EC achievement. After the finals, he took walked around holding a large Norwegian flag and wearing a Viking helmet. That brought back memories of the World Championships triumph last year.
To the speaker, Warholm thanked all Norwegians who were present. He ran his honour’s lap in front of the stadium before returning back to the finishing line.
Warholm gold came as it was pre-ordered. The 22-years-old has been Europe’s fastest hurdles runner on the distance for the whole season. Before the final, Warhol was the only one below 48 seconds on the lap this year. He has done that four times before, five included today.
Last month Warholm ran in 47.65 seconds in London. That was to be a short-lived Norwegian record. By comparison, Europe’s second fastest man, Copello, had clocked the time of 48.31 before today’s final.
Like Warholm, the Turk made the run of his life when it mattered the most, but it was not enough to deny a Norwegian victory. Warholm’s coach, Leif Olav Alsnes, was not surprised that Copello was hard to beat.
– I figured he would be very well prepared”, and that was certainly obvious in the semifinals, Alsnes said to NTB.
Wednesday Warholm cruised into the finals on the 400 metres flat. He thereby showed that he is a hot candidate to take a medal also in that event. That final is on Friday night.
It has been gambling from Warholm’s side to go for an EC double. It is a bold manoeuvre to participate in two events, but on Thursday night he proved that it has not affected the main goal: To secure the gold medal on his favourite distance.
The finals were his third race in the same number of days.
Warholm was to be awarded the gold medal late Thursday night, but the German organizer announced this afternoon that the ceremony is postponed to Friday after forecasts of heavy thunderstorms over Berlin.
This postponement suited Warholm perfectly. He avoided having to stay in the stadium and wait for several hours for the medal ceremony.
On the same date last year, Warholm wrote Norwegian sports history winning the World Championships on 400 metres hurdles. With that, he became Norway’s first male World Champion in athletics on the track.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today