'Oh my God': Athletics world in disbelief over 'impossible' moment

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Karsten Warholm, pictured here breaking the 400m hurdles world record.
Karsten Warholm broke the 400m hurdles world record at the Diamond League meeting in Oslo. Image: NBC/Getty

Karsten Warholm has shocked the athletics world on the eve of the Tokyo Olympics after breaking the longest-standing men's world record in the sport.

The Norwegian clocked 46.70 seconds in the 400m hurdles at the Diamond League meeting in Oslo on Thursday, eclipsing Kevin Young's 29-year-old mark of 46.78.

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"I knew that I had fast times in my body for a long time, but it's one thing to know that you're in good shape, it's another thing to be able to go out and perform," he said afterwards.

"This was just a perfect moment. Everybody is talking about this world record, it has been standing for many, many years - it's older than me, actually. 

"The first time, Bislett, back with an audience, family and friends in the stadium.

"I knew I had it in me, but of course it's very special to be able to do it, and I'm just really happy and really proud. It's an amazing moment."

Young's record was set four years before the Norwegian was even born and was the longest-standing record in men's track.

Now the dual world champion is setting his sights on the Olympic Games in Tokyo, where he believes he may have to go lower to win gold.

"I knew that I had a fast time in my body," said Warholm. 

"It might take another world record to win the Olympics."

Remarkably, it came just days after Sydney McLaughlin broke the women's 400m hurdles world record at the US Olympic trials.

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Andre de Grasse lays down marker ahead of Olympics

The achievement capped a series of solid performances at the Diamond League meet, where two-time Olympic medallist Andre de Grasse won the men's 200m in 20.09.

Ivorian sprinter Marie-Josee Ta Lou torched the women's 100m in 10.91, a solid showing ahead of Tokyo - where she will face a field overflowing with talent.

"When you start your season you just hope for no injuries, good training and to be ready for competition," said Ta Lou. 

"There is a lot of great talent out there but I am always in competition with myself."

Karsten Warholm, pictured here after breaking the 400m hurdles world record.
Karsten Warholm celebrates after breaking the 400m hurdles world record. (Photo by FREDRIK HAGEN/NTB/AFP via Getty Images)

Kenya's Hellen Obiri, a silver medallist in Rio, won the 5,000m in 14:26.38 but made clear she wants to improve ahead of the Games, where she plans to compete in the 5,000m and 10,000m.

"I have a lot of speed work to do between now and then," said Obiri, who picked up her second consecutive world championship gold in 2019.

"I have worked hard on my endurance and now I need to concentrate on the last 300m," 

In the women's 400m hurdles, 21-year-old Femke Bol clinched her second back-to-back Diamond League win in a personal best 53.33 secs to extend her own national record for the Netherlands.

with agencies

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