Warholm, Bol retain European 400m hurdles titles

<a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Norway;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Norway</a>'s Karsten Warholm wins the men's European 400m hurdles final (Anne-Christine POUJOULAT)
Norway's Karsten Warholm wins the men's European 400m hurdles final (Anne-Christine POUJOULAT)

Norway's Karsten Warholm and Femke Bol of the Netherlands underlined all their class by wrapping up dominant victories in the men and women's 400m hurdles at the European championships in Rome on Tuesday.

In a perfect stepping stone towards the Paris Olympics, just 46 days away, Warholm won a third successive European title after previously winning in Berlin in 2018 and Munich in 2022. It was a second for Bol.

Both Warholm and Bol set new championship records.

Warholm, the Olympic champion and a three-time world gold medallist, timed 46.98 seconds for the victory ahead of Italian Alessandro Sibilio, who took silver in 47.50sec, and Sweden's Carl Bengtstrom bronze in 47.94, both national records.

"Whenever I walk on the track, I want to accomplish my goals," Warholm said.

"But today, Sibilio also had a very good race... so I knew that I had to fight very hard.

"I was very sure that he would be ready for anything and I could not make any mistake today."

Warholm added: "It's just a great confidence booster for the Paris Olympics.

"The 400m hurdles there should be one of the most exciting races. It's building up to that."

Warholm, who is also world record holder in the event, is known for his kamikaze starts and there was no deviation from the script at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Norwegian, in lane eight, hared out of his starting blocks and was already past Bengtstrom, on his outside, by the second of the 10 hurdles.

He motored away down the far straight before crushing the bend into the home stretch.

Running in new spikes in a bid to improve his final 200 metres, Warholm looked to tire coming into the line, but victory was never in doubt.

Sibilio ran a fantastic race on Warholm's shoulder, while Bengtstrom did well to recover from being overtaken by the Norwegian so early on.

- 'In good shape' -

It was a similar story for Bol, the world champion clocking 52.49sec in a totally dominant victory.

"I am really happy about the victory," she said. "It's never easy, you can never take anything for granted, which is why it's important to stay focused on myself and not think about what's happening around me.

"I worked hard for these championships and I arrived here in good shape, I believe I can be even better at the Olympics."

Running with her trademark upright style in lane six, Bol moved smoothly into the lead from the gun and held it easily through to the tape.

France's Louise Maraval claimed silver in a personal best of 54.23sec, with another Dutch athlete, Cathelijn Peeters, taking bronze (54.37).

Already a bronze medallist in Rome in Friday's 4x400m mixed relay, Bol will now turn her attention to the women's 4x400m relay, the final of which is scheduled for 1906 GMT on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old had been looking to repeat her triple gold showing from the last Euros in Munich, but might now have to settle for two.

"Tomorrow we will try to have a great race in the relay as well: today my teammates did a fantastic job qualifying," said Bol.