The main part of a sell-out 14,200 crowd in Oslo tonight saw half their dream come true tonight when home runner Karsten Warholm won the men’s 400 metres hurdles in a European record of 47.33sec.
But 18-year-old Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s hopes of winning the Dream Mile – the signature event of the annual Bislett Games – were swamped as Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski celebrated his 32nd birthday in the best possible style.
Warholm is never more golden than when he wins in his home city, and the 23-year-old Norwegian standard bearer did it again at the fifth International Association of Athletics Federations Diamond League meeting of the season - surpassing the 1995 European mark of 47,37 set by France's Stephane Diagana.
The acclaim was huge from a crowd full of high expectation – according to event organiser Steinar Hoen it was the first time in the event’s 54-year history when all tickets had been sold a week before the competition.
The delighted world champion – who would have faced the man who remained unbeaten all last year, Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba, had it not been for the latter’s bout of bursitis – finished in a race of his own, with Ireland’s Thomas Barr second in 49.11, just 0.01 ahead of the double Diamond League and Commonwealth champion, Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands.
"It's crazy to run a European record and it's amazing to do it here at Bislett,” said Warholm, who opened his season with a 47.85 win in Stockholm.
“My coach thought I would run 47.30 so he was nearly right. I've worked so hard during the winter with the pressure coming at me, so this is a very special feeling, it's the best in the world."
Lewandowski – whose late finishing burst in the 1,500m final at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow earlier this year spoiled Ingebrigtsen’s hopes of adding an indoor double to the European outdoor version he won in Berlin last summer – steamed through the field in the final stages to become the first European winner of this event since 2008.
His time of 3min 52.34sec was a Polish record, and the fastest run this season.
Vincent Kibet of Kenya was second in 3:52.38, with Ingebrigtsen finishing sixth in 3:53.04, and elder brother Filip taking ninth place in 3:54.41.
Shortly before this rousing conclusion to the meeting, Christian Coleman of the United States, the world silver medallist and world indoor champion, had produced a hugely impressive win in the 100m, clocking 9.85sec, the fastest run this year, in a race where no one else beat 10 seconds.
In the stadium where Warholm earned his first big senior international win in 2017, 19-year-old Sydney McLaughlin also announced her presence in the top flight as she won her debut professional and Diamond League race in her main event of the women’s 400 metres in 54.16sec.
The former world youth champion, who broke the National Collegiate Athletic Association record last year in running 52.75 – joint ninth on the all-time list – was competing against three other fellow American sub-53second runners.
Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad, who tops this year’s listings with 53.61, had won won all three of her previous races, but she could only manage second place tonight in 54.35, with Shamier Little – level with McLaughlin in the all-time rankings – third in 54.92.
World champion Kori Carter had to settle for fourth place in 55.67.
“I didn’t get out well,” said McLaughlin.
“I hit the first hurdle with my knee but recovered well by fighting back.
“I came back strong, which shows where I am fitness-wise.
“That was the strongest field and the women’s 400m hurdles has a great future.”
Norah Jeruto won an equally stacked race in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase, banking a meeting record of 9min 03.71sec, the fastest run this season, with fellow Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech, the world record holder, second in 9:04.30 ahead of former world champion Hyvin Kiyeng, who clocked 9:07.56.
The three Kenyans were chased home by world champion Emma Coburn of the United States, who crossed the line in 9:08.42, her vest marked with a hashtag message – #bravelikegabe – following the death this week of fellow US runner Gaby Grunewald, 32, who had defied cancer for many years.
Ethiopia’s 19-year-old defending Diamond League 5,000m champion Selemon Barega held off the challenge of Uganda’s front-running Joshua Cheptegei, passing him in the final 200m to win the men’s 3,000m in a personal best and 2019 world-leading 7min 32.17sec.
Cheptegei was rewarded with a personal best – clocking 7:33.26 – as were the next two men home, Kenya’s Nicholas Kimeli, who finished in 7:34.85, and the eldest of the Igebrigtsen clan, Henrik, who recorded a Norwegian record of 7:36.85.
Double world 200m champion Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands won over her specialist distance in a season’s best of 22.56sec.
The women’s high jump went, not unexpectedly, to the Russian world champion Mariya Lasitskene, who produced the first 2.00m jump of the season, winning with 2.01 after her nearest rival, Sweden’s Erika Kinsey, had gone out after clearing 1.96.
Another world champion – Sam Kendricks of the United States – triumphed in the men’s pole vault with 5.91m, with Sweden’s 19-year-old European champion Armand Duplantis, the high school graduate who leads the 2019 lists with 6.00m, having to settle for fourth place with 5.81 on his professional debut.
Another 2019 best was registered in the women’s triple jump by Colombia’s 35-year-old Olympic champion Caterine Ibarguen, who reached 14.79m.