Warholm Eyes Olympic Title, Says Will Leave Rivals To Set New Record

Warholm eyes Olympic title, says will leave rivals to set new record

Tokyo, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 30th Jul, 2021 ) :Karsten Warholm said on Friday he had done his job as far as the world record was concerned and his focus was on adding the Olympic men's 400 metres hurdles gold to his two world titles.

The 25-year-old Norwegian timed 46.70 seconds to break Kevin Young's long-standing mark in Oslo on July 1. The record had been set almost four years before he was born.

Warholm brushed aside the question of whether he would need to break his own record to win the Olympic title on July 3.

"Maybe someone else will do it. I've done my job," he said after breezing into the semi-finals.

Warholm was just relieved to have finally got his Olympic challenge under way, even if it was in front of empty stands -- spectators are barred owing to the coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo.

"I have been here for two weeks already, I'm starting to get bored so it was very nice to get around," he said.

The man most likely to threaten his world record is his biggest challenger, Rai Benjamin.

The 25-year-old American is the third fastest of all time and arrives fresh, having not run in the European season.

"To be honest with you, I've been trying to avoid that question (about the potential of the world record being broken) because the Norwegian media has been butchering me about that, they say I talk about it too much," said Benjamin.

"I'm just here to win a gold medal for Team USA and for myself. I'm really ready. I am just focused on winning, that is it." - 'Missed the crowd' - Should both of them cancel each other out or fail to make it to the final on August 3, others are capable of taking the medals.

One of those contenders, South American record holder Alison dos Santos, eased into the second round and said he had gained confidence from finishing seventh in the world final in Doha two year ago.

"Everybody is in their best form," the 21-year-old said. "Each heat will be harder with best times.

"There is a possibility that the world record will be broken." The one-year postponement of the Tokyo Games had eventually played to his advantage, he said.

"I was very anxious because of the wait but I tried to look at it in a positive way in terms of having more time to train." Abderrahman Samba -- the world bronze medalist from 2019 -- edged Dos Santos in their heat.

However, he conceded the lack of atmosphere preyed on his mind.

"Without the crowd, I think it is really, really difficult," said the 25-year-old Qatari. "I really missed the crowd." Others who looked in ominously good shape were British Virgin Islands Kyron McMaster -- fourth in the 2019 final -- and Turkey's 2017 world silver rmedalist Yasmani Copello.

Kenneth Selmon may lack the profile of American team-mate Benjamin but he was delighted with his performance at his first Games.

"(Making the team) has filled a gap where I lacked confidence," he said.

Selmon -- who has kept himself busy in the "tedium of the village" by creating an App dedicated to live events -- believes winning the title will require a very special time.

"Oh, 100 percent. I think (the record) will be broken on Tuesday and it's going to take that to win," he said.