'Oh my God': Athletics world stunned by never-before-seen moment

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Sydney McLaughlin, pictured here after breaking the 400m hurdles world record.
Sydney McLaughlin became the first women to break the 52-second mark in the 400m hurdles. Image: NBC

Sydney McLaughlin shocked the athletics world on the eve of the Tokyo Olympics on Monday, becoming the first woman in history to break the 52-second mark in the 400m hurdles.

The American delivered a sizzling world-record breaking victory as the US Olympic track and field trials drew to a thrilling close in Oregon.

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The final day of the 10-day meeting was disrupted by brutal 40-degree temperatures which blasted Hayward Field with furnace-like conditions and forced organisers to postpone afternoon events to the evening.

When the action resumed in slightly cooler temperatures it was McLaughlin who stole the show, scorching to a stunning victory in 51.90sec after an epic battle with rival Dalilah Muhammad.

The 21-year-old became the first woman in history to go under 52 seconds in the event after a superb tactical race against reigning Olympic and world champion Muhammad.

The time was so low that it would have qualified for the Olympic trials in the 400m non-hurdles event.

Muhammad - who had held the previous world record of 52.16sec following her win over McLaughlin at the 2019 World Championships in Doha - was second in 52.42sec. 

Anna Cockrell claimed the third qualifying spot in 53.70sec.

"I knew from the moment I woke up today that it was going to be a great day," McLaughlin said after the race.

"It's one of those moments that you dream about and think about and play in your head.

"It was the final 'I did it' moment and I'm going to cherish it for the rest of my life."

Dalilah Muhammad, Sydney McLaughlin and Anna Cockrell, pictured here after the 400m hurdles final.
Dalilah Muhammad, Sydney McLaughlin and Anna Cockrell pose on the podium after the 400m hurdles final. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Athletics world in shock over insane world record

McLaughlin described her ongoing rivalry with Muhammad as "iron sharpens iron."

"It's just two great athletes pushing each other to be better," she said.

"There's no animosity, no hard feelings, just two people trying to be their best. 

"We wouldn't be able to have these world records going back and forth without one another."

Muhammad said she had expected McLaughlin to challenge her record after impressing in the heats.

But she warned she is confident of making improvements to her own time at next month's Tokyo Olympics.

"I definitely saw it coming. She looked so good in the rounds," Muhammad said of McLaughlin's time.

"I think there's more in store for me and Tokyo will be good for me."

Needless to say, the athletics world was left in pure disbelief over the mind-blowing record.

with AFP

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