McLaughlin storms to gold and world record
August 04 2021 11:09 PM
USA’s Sydney Mclaughlin (centre) crosses the finish line ahead of compatriot Dalilah Mohamed (left)
USA’s Sydney Mclaughlin (centre) crosses the finish line ahead of compatriot Dalilah Mohamed (left) and Netherlands’ Femke Bol in the women’s 400m hurdles final at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo yesterday. (AFP)

AFP/ Tokyo

United States’ Sydney McLaughlin obliterated her own world record to win Olympic gold in the women’s 400m hurdles yesterday. At Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, McLaughlin powered home in 51.46 seconds, with defending champion Dalilah Mohamed claiming silver in 51.58 after another classic duel between the two dominant American hurdlers.
It repeated the feat of Karsten Warholm, who took a huge slice off the world record in the men’s race just 24 hours earlier. The 21-year-old McLaughlin’s blistering time bettered her world record set at the US trials in Oregon in June, when she ran 51.90sec.
“I saw Dalilah ahead of me with one to go,” said McLaughlin.
“I just thought ‘run your race’. The race doesn’t really start till hurdle seven. I just wanted to go out there and give it everything I had.”
It was the fourth time since 2019 that Mohamed  and McLaughlin have met in a championship setting. On each occasion the world record has fallen. “I think it’s just iron sharpening iron,” McLaughlin said after the epic clash. “You need somebody who’s going to push you to your best and that’s what we do so well,” the 21-year-old added. “Every time we step on the track it’s always something fast.”
Mohamed , the reigning world champion, echoed McLaughlin’s remarks as she reflected on a race that she had led coming off the final hurdle before she was reeled in just metres short of the line. “When you have someone as strong a competitor as Sydney, you can’t mess up and that’s where the pressure really lies – not having any room for error,” Mohamed said.
“I’m truly happy with the performance that both of us have put on and kudos to Sydney.” Both women smiled and embraced after yesterday’s classic duel in blazing sunshine at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium.
Emmanuel Korir ensured Kenya’s grip on the men’s 800 metres continued by leading Ferguson Rotich home for a 1-2 finish for the east African powerhouses. Korir, who succeeds injured two-time champion David Rudisha as gold medallist in the event, timed 1:45.06, Rotich taking silver ahead of Poland’s Patryk Dobek.
There was glory, and another bronze, for Poland in the men’s hammer as Wojciech Nowicki’s best of 82.52 metres secured gold. Norway’s Eivind Henriksen claimed silver, with four-time world champion Pawel Fajdek taking bronze.
Elsewhere on the track, there was a first ever Olympic gold for an Ugandan woman as Peruth Chemutai outstripped the field to win the 3000m steeplechase. The 22-year-old timed 9min 01.45sec, with American Courtney Frerichs claiming silver and Kenyan Hyvin Kiyeng bronze. “After my fifth place at the world championships in Doha, I knew a medal would be possible if I run a good race,” said Chemutai.
Dutch runner Sifan Hassan’s bid for an unprecedented Olympic distance treble remains on course after she eased into tomorrow’s 1,500 metres final by winning her semi-final. The newly-crowned 5,000m Olympic champion — who also has the 10,000m in her sights — will face a challenge to make it two out of two titles as Kenya’s defending champion Faith Kipyegon awaits her.
There was drama in the heptathlon as British world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson pulled up with a right calf injury in the final event of the first day, the 200m. It left reigning Olympic champion Nafi Thiam of Belgium, third overnight, in prime position to defend her title in Thursday’s second day of competition which features the long jump, javelin and the 800m.
Canada’s Damian Warner was in pole in the men’s decathlon, with fancied French rival Kevin Mayer, the world record holder, in fifth.

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