DOHA: American Dalilah Muhammad broke her own world record to win the women’s 400 metres hurdles at the world championships with a time of 52.16 seconds last night, edging out compatriot Sydney McLaughlin in a gripping race.
The 29-year-old Muhammad, the 2016 Olympic champion, crossed the finish line 0.04 seconds faster than her previous world record set in July.
The American attributed her two world marks to her work ethic, and said she was focused on successfully defending her title at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
“It’s just how I work,” she told reporters after the race. “I go out there every day and just try to give it my all. It feels good to have it come when it matters.”
Muhammad was only slightly ahead of silver medallist McLaughlin over the first 100m of the race, but her lead grew as they came through the second bend.
When she crossed the finish line, Muhammad had no idea she had set a new record.
“I didn’t even know who had won the race,” she said.
McLaughlin, 20, closed in on her team mate on the home stretch but she could not quite catch up as she finished second in 52.23 seconds, a personal best.
“She is amazing,” McLaughlin said of Muhammad. “She has been doing this for a long time. I constantly try to learn from her. We knew it would be fast, but we didn’t think it would be another world record.”
The two Americans completely dominated the race, opening up a large gap on the rest of the field.
Rushell Clayton of Jamaica took the bronze with a personal best time of 53.74 seconds.
Bahamian Steven Gardiner, silver medallist in London two years ago, went one better yesterday when he stormed home to win the 400 metres.
Colombian Anthony Zambrano produced a surge down the final straight as he charged from fourth to second to snatch the silver and leave American Fred Kerley, one of the pre-race favourites, with the bronze after an enthralling race.
Kirani James of Grenada, the former world and Olympic champion who has made a comeback this year after being plagued by injury for several seasons, finished fifth.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s Conseslus Kipruto beat Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia in a photo finish to successfully defend his 3,000 metres steeplechase world title.
In the home straight the race came down to a 100m sprint and Kipruto just won it, dipping to edge out the 18-year-old Girma on the line in a winning time of eight minutes, 1.35 seconds.
Girma was 0.001 seconds back and had to settle for silver, Ethiopia’s first ever medal in the event.
Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali completed the podium by taking the bronze.