Screaming self-belief works for young Warholm

Karsten Warholm, 21, mimics Norwegian artist Edvard Munch's The Scream after winning the men's 400m hurdles final on Wednesday.
Karsten Warholm, 21, mimics Norwegian artist Edvard Munch's The Scream after winning the men's 400m hurdles final on Wednesday.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Norwegian Karsten Warholm aped The Scream by Edvard Munch when he realised he had won the men's 400m hurdles title in the pouring rain on Wednesday. And his victory could prove as valuable to the sport as the painting is to Norway's tourism industry.

Athletics is desperately seeking new and quirky characters to fill the huge vacuum that will be left by the retirement of Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt and, to a lesser extent, British distance legend Mo Farah (from the track).

Warholm, who gave Norway its first world gold in the event, fills several boxes as he is only 21, exhibits an exciting style of running, shows no fear in leading from the gun to the tape, and left one of the all-time greats in Kerron Clement trailing in his wake.

Not bad for someone who was doing the decathlon not so long ago. He has taken to the event like a duck to water.

"I truly don't believe it," said Warholm, who donned a Viking hat on his lap of honour after winning in 48.35 seconds.

"I've worked so hard for this but I don't know what I have done. This is an amazing feeling.

"I'm world champion, that's crazy."

DOING IT HIS WAY

I have one way to do it, and I did it. I'm young, I'm stupid, going hard works for me.

KARSTEN WARHOLM, world 400m hurdles champion, on his bold style of running which has him charging to the lead from the gun.

Warholm, who hails from the tiny town of Ulsteinvik - population slightly more than 6,000 - says in self-deprecatory fashion that he would not be able to run any other way.

"I have one way to do it, and I did it," he said. "I'm young, I'm stupid, going hard works for me."

He hinted he could be a danger when he won at the Bislett Games and the Stockholm Diamond League earlier this year. After delivering, he said that he did not want to sound arrogant but he would not have stood a chance if he had lacked self-belief despite being a relative novice.

"I think everyone has to believe they will become a world champion," he said.

"These two (silver and bronze medallists Yasmani Copello, who clocked 48.49sec, and Clement, who timed 48.52sec) are good competitors and I have respect for them.

"This event was wide open so I'm not saying I'm a better runner, it was just my day. The times were not that good as there were challenging conditions, but that didn't matter. It was all about the win."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2017, with the headline 'Screaming self-belief works for young Warholm'. Print Edition | Subscribe