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Warholm storms back to form

Bol seals memorable 400m Euro double
Norway's Karsten Warholm celebrates gold after the men's 400m Hurdles final during the European Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium in Munich, southern Germany on August 19, 2022.  (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP)
Norway's Karsten Warholm celebrates gold after the men's 400m Hurdles final during the European Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium in Munich, southern Germany on August 19, 2022. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP)

MUNICH: Karsten Warholm announced his return to form as he retained his European 400m hurdles title in Munich on Friday while Femke Bol sealed an unlikely double.

Britain's Laura Muir and Zharnel Hughes bagged dominant golds in the women's 1,500m and men's 200m respectively, but their team-mate Dina Asher-Smith was trumped by Swiss rival Mujinga Kambundji in her bid to defend the 200m title.

Warholm's performance was all the more impressive as he makes his way back from injury, a setback that saw him come in seventh in last month's world championships in Oregon.

Warholm, who set a sensational world record of 45.94sec when winning Olympic gold in Tokyo last year, proved to be back on form in Munich, timing a championship record of 47.12 seconds for gold.

He finished well ahead of France's Wilfried Happio, in 48.56sec, and Cuban-born Turk Yasmani Copello (48.78).

Warholm's time smashed the previous European best of 47.48sec -- a then-world record -- set by West Germany's Harald Schmid in Athens in 1982.

"It's even more special now because I've learned these things don't come so often and you should appreciate them even more because things turn around very quickly in sport, so I'm very happy to be back," said Warholm.

"The injury has healed and I feel much more confident so today was just running and enjoying it."

The indefatigable Bol of the Netherlands followed up on her victory in Wednesday's 400m flat by totally dominating the women's 400m hurdles to seal a memorable European double.

Bol, like Warholm, clocked a championship record for victory in 52.67sec ahead of Ukrainians Viktoriya Tkachuk and Anna Ryzhykova.

"Winning this gold medal is a big relief," said Bol. "It was a great race for me. I am very surprised to achieve such a fast time.

"It was very hard mentally to race the 400m without hurdles. I am so proud to achieve the double."


Muir sealed Britain's first gold of a fantastic night of track and field as she accelerated away at the bell for a comprehensive victory in the women's 1,500m.

She retained her title from Berlin in 2018 in 4:01.08, capping a brilliant championship period that has also seen her win Olympic silver, world bronze and Commonwealth gold.

"I knew my speed was the best for the last lap, so I just tried to hold it and to control the race," said Muir.

Defending champion Ramil Guliyev pulled up injured halfway through the men's 200m, Hughes stepping up to better his silver in Tuesday's 100m behind Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs as he streaked to victory in 20.07sec.

There was a second European silver for Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake in 20.17sec, with Italian Filippo Tortu taking bronze (20.27).

"I knew that I am faster than other guys on the track because of my fast 100m," said Hughes, born and raised in the tiny Caribbean island of Anguilla, a British Overseas Territory.

"I really did the damage on the bend, I really dominated on it. As soon as I crossed the finish line I knew that I'd won because I didn't see anyone else there."


There was no such luck for Asher-Smith, who was outstripped on the home stretch by Kambundji, who won in 22.32sec to the Briton's 22.43.

"I am on cloud nine. I knew this race was going to be tough. I made sure to get a clean race. It is overwhelming to come home with two medals," said Kambundji, who also won 100m silver.

There was a humdinger of a competition in a high-quality men's discus, Lithuanian teenager and world silver medallist Mykolas Alekna throwing a championship record of 69.78m on his fifth attempt for victory.

World champion Kristjan Ceh of Slovakia took silver with 68.28m, with Briton Lawrence Okoye going home with bronze (67.14), as Sweden's Olympic champion Daniel Stahl could only finish fifth.

Finland's Topi Raitanen produced an outstanding final kick to win gold in the men's 3,000m steeplechase in 8:21.80 ahead of Italians Ahmed Abdelwahed and Osama Zoghli.

And after earlier silver and bronze medals for Ukraine, the war-torn country finally bagged an European gold in Munich when Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk won the women's triple jump with a best effort of 15.02m. -- AFP

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