Matt Hudson-Smith Roars To European 400m Record In Oslo

Matt Hudson-Smith roars to European 400m record in Oslo

British sprinter runs 44.07 at Bislett Games as Dos Santos beats Warholm in 400m hurdles duel, Ingebrigtsen wins 1500m thriller and Gebrhiwet runs second fastest 5000m in history

Matt Hudson

As Matt Hudson-Smith gears up to defend his European 400m title in Rome in a few days’ time, the British quarter-miler showed he is in the form of his life as he improved his European record from 44.26 to 44.07 at the Diamond League in Oslo.

Racing in cool and still conditions on Thursday (May 30) the Birchfield Harrier won his race in style, leading into the home straight and surging away from his rivals to win by just over half a second from Kirani James, the London 2012 Olympic champion from Grenada clocking 44.58.

Hudson-Smith’s name and number on his singlet was pinned on upside down but there was nothing cockeyed about the 29-year-old’s running at these Bislett Games.

Hudson-Smith will be aiming to win his third European title in Rome early next month, whereas at the Paris Olympics he will hope to add another global medal to the world silver and bronze he earned in Budapest and Eugene.

“I wasn’t sure what shape I was in and the time didn’t matter in a way as I care about victories rather than times and preparing for the Olympics,” he said.

“At the end of the day times are temporary but medals are forever. I really want to come away from Paris with a medal.

“This year I am healthy so that gives me confidence as last year I came into the season with tendonitis in my Achilles so I had a very up and down season and it was bittersweet to get so close to the gold after the injury.

“With the Europeans so close I will probably have to be back to training tomorrow. I will get a view from my coach. I did not even realise my number was upside down tonight – maybe that will be my lucky charm going forward!”

Alison dos Santos beats Karsten Warholm (Getty)

The 400m hurdles was a closer race – and what a race it was as Alison dos Santos of Brazil out-ran Karsten Warholm in the closing stages to beat the Norwegian in front of the Olympic champion’s home crowd in 46.63.

In his first 400m hurdles of the summer and with light rain falling, Warholm went out in his usual hard fashion but tired slightly in the closing stages to clock 46.70 as Dos Santos, who was two lanes inside him and a stride or two down with 100m to go, caught and passed him.

Kyron McMaster finished a detached third in 48.49.

There was delight for the home crowd in the 1500m, though, as Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen won – just, by three hundredths of a second – from 2019 world champion Timothy Cheruiyot in a thrilling final event of the night.

Racing his first 1500m of the year following his Bowerman Mile defeat to Josh Kerr five days earlier in Eugene, Ingebrigtsen took over from the pacemakers with 500m to go but had Kenya’s Cheruiyot, Azeddine Habz of France and Elliot Giles breathing down his neck with 150m left. In the home straight the Olympic champion looked like he had it under control but Cheruiyot began to gather momentum and it was only a dramatic dive at the line that earned Ingebrigtsen a narrow victory in 3:29.74.

Habz was third in 3:30.80 with Issac Nader of Portugal fourth in 3:30.84, Giles fifth in 3:31.06 followed by Olli Hoare of Australia in 3:31.08 and George Mills of Britain in 3:31.57.


Hagos Gebrhiwet (Getty)

Hagos Gebrhiwet opened his season on a damp and chilly night in Leicester in March at the Podium Festival 5km event, which he won in 13:19. Just over two months later in Oslo on Thursday he ran considerably quicker in better conditions to clock 12:36.73 – the second fastest 5000m in history.

Only Joshua Cheptegei with 12:35.36 has run quicker, although the world record-holder and Olympic champion was only ninth here in 12:51.94.

The main target had been Jacob Kiplimo’s meeting record of 12:41.73 but Gebrhiwet smashed it as he ran away from fellow Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha on the last lap. Kejelcha still ran a PB of 12:38.95 in second with Kiplimo also clocking a PB of 12:40.96 in third.

Gebrhiwet is only 30 but it feels like he’s been around forever as he was runner-up to Mo Farah in the world 5000m final in Moscow 11 years ago. He is, however, in the form of his life lately as he won the world 5km road title in Latvia late last year too. With the only Olympic medal in his cabinet being 5000m bronze in Rio, could this be his year in Paris?


Mykolas Alekna (Getty)

Mykolas Alekna’s brilliant season continued as the 21-year-old beat a top-class field that included Daniel Stahl, Matt Denny and Kristjan Ceh with a meeting record of 70.91m – a mark that was held by his father – although the young Lithuanian chose not to contest the final round with the top three throwers. Following his recent world record of 74.35m in Ramona, Alekna is the man to beat going into the European Championships and Olympics.

Hudson-Smith’s race wasn’t the only fast 400m of the night. Marileidy Paulino won the women’s race in 49.30 – her best time since the Dominican athlete won the world title last year – as Brits Laviai Nielsen and Victoria Ohuruogu were seventh and eighth in 51.04 and 51.61 respectively.

The night threw up a few surprises too. Georgia Griffith, for example, stormed to an Oceania 3000m record of 8:24.20 as she out-sprinted Ethiopian Likina Amebaw and fellow Australian Jess Hull.

There was another shock in the women’s 200m as Brittany Brown of the United States beat Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast with Britain’s Daryll Neita third in 22.50 as the world champion Shericka Jackson was only fifth in 22.97.

Elsewhere British 800m runner Guy Learmonth ran 1:45.49 for fifth – a season’s best and the fourth fastest time of his career.

It wasn’t a good night for Brits Jeremiah Azu and Jess Warner-Judd. Azu had cramp in the men’s 100m as he finished last in 11.11 (0.4) behind South African Akani Simbine’s 9.94 win.

Warner-Judd ran an underpar 8:59.98 in the 3000m – more than half a minute behind the winner – and revealed she had a mid-race seizure racing over 10,000m in the United States in March. “It’s just not happening this year but I’m hoping it will and it will come good,” she said.

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