Stockholm (AFP)

An error on the last hurdle probably cost the world record in the 400m hurdles to the Norwegian Karsten Warholm, author of the 2nd best performance of all time (46.87) on Sunday at the Stockholm Diamond League meeting.

The expressive Norwegian bit his fingers at the finish ... Alone in the world, especially in a stadium empty of spectators, Karsten Warholm tumbled at full speed to lane eight, all outside in the final stretch of the 400m hurdles, hit the 10th and final hurdle, but kept pushing to reach the stratospheric time of 46 sec 87.

Double reigning world champion, Karsten Warholm now seems destined to beat the old world record of the American Kevin Young (46.78 in August 1992) that he touched on Sunday, at nine hundredths of a second, in the heart of a season yet truncated by the new coronavirus pandemic (OJ postponed, Euro canceled).

During the second meeting of the Diamond League only after Monaco last week, Warholm thus improved in passing his own European record (46.92 in Zurich in 2019), more than two seconds ahead of the competition, an ocean at this level.

Insatiable, he even allowed himself to win an hour and a half later the 400 m flat in 45 sec 05.

With the American Rai Benjamin and the Qatari Abderrahman Samba, absent on Sunday, the Norwegian has completely relaunched the 400 m hurdles for three years with cannon lap times.

"I'm not even surprised at Warholm's personal best. I'm pretty shocked he didn't break the world record," US 200m world champion Noah Lyles commented on Twitter, showing just how the Viking is expected.

- 'A raw love' -

Power monster with a muscular physique (1.87 m, 80 kg), screaming and slapping his chest before his races, Warholm (24) also attracts the light with his extraordinary and offbeat personality.

Since March 2015, this former amateur of combined events (7,764 points in junior on decathlon) has linked his destiny to Leif Olav Alnes, a trainer almost 40 years his senior, who shares his eccentricity.

The two friends thus came from Norway in a motorhome in which they have been sleeping for several days in Stockholm, in order to reduce health risks.

"Raw, rude love is a perfect description of our relationship," says Warholm, also a compulsive builder of Legos. "I like it like this. Last year he told me I was too fat. . I replied + you are too fat too +, suddenly we both lost weight. "

Eliminated in the semi-finals of the Rio Games in 2016, Warholm is a big favorite for the supreme title next summer in Tokyo.

In Stockholm, the new pole vault world record holder Armand "Mondo" Duplantis also shone at home, clearing 6.01 m, the best world performance of the year. He then tried unsuccessfully to pass 6.15m, a height never before achieved outdoors.

The Briton Laura Muir crushed the 1,500 m in 3 min 57 sec 82 and the Ukrainian Yaroslava Mahuchick crossed 2 m at the height, also taking the lead in the world records.

© 2020 AFP