TOKYO: Norwegian Karsten Warholm rocked the world of athletics on Tuesday (Aug 3), shattering his own world record to win the men's 400m hurdles, as Germany's Malaika Mihambo produced more last-leap drama to triumph in a superb women's long jump.
A month after he broke Kevin Young's 29-year-old world mark with a time of 46.70 seconds, Warholm blew his own record away in the final with an astonishing 45.94 run.
"I can't believe the time, it's so fast," he said. "A lot of the time I am asked about the perfect race. I said it didn't exist, but this is the closest I've ever come."
His key rival American Rai Benjamin took silver in an amazing 46.17 seconds and Brazilian Alison dos Santos claimed bronze in 46.72 seconds, still inside the previous world record of 46.78 seconds Young set at the 1992 Games.
In an enthralling women's long jump final, Mihambo of Germany added Olympic gold to her world championship title with a final leap of 7.00m, as American Brittney Reese took the silver ahead of bronze medallist Ese Brume of Nigeria.
"It was, I think, the most exciting women's long jump competition in history," said Mihambo, who finished fourth at the 2016 Games.
Six-time Olympic champion Allyson Felix kicked off her fifth and final Games strong, winning her 400m heat in 50.84 seconds.
Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas stayed on course for the track double, easing through to Wednesday's semi-final and setting up a potential showdown with Felix, 35, who is gunning for the podium after giving birth in 2018.
"It has changed everything. It gave me a different drive, and has brought so many challenges," said Felix. "It is even more meaningful to be on this stage as a mum."
A new chapter in Olympic athletics began in the men's 200m, as the event kicked off without retired Jamaican legend and triple winner Usain Bolt for the first time since 2004.
The American trio of Noah Lyles, Kenneth Bednarek and Erriyon Knighton easily advanced, with Bednarek posting the fastest overall time in 20.01 seconds.
In men's triple jump qualifying, world leader Pedro Pablo Pichardo of Portugal leapt for an astonishing 17.71m - the best performance ever in a qualifying round - while Olympic and world silver medallist Will Claye of the United States advanced to Thursday's final with 16.91.
It was not all smiles inside the Olympic Stadium, however, where morning drizzle gave way to a scorching sun.
Croatia suffered bitter disappointment yet again as Sara Kolak's title defence in the women's javelin qualifier ended after she committed three fouls to bounce out of the competition, a day after Sandra Perkovic fell short in her bid for a third consecutive Olympic gold in the discus.
Polish world leader Maria Andrejczyk and 2019 world champion Kelsey-Lee Barber of Australia advanced in the javelin.
Elsewhere at the Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that it was waiting for a report from the Belarusian National Olympic Committee on the case of sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who took refuge in the Polish embassy on Monday, a day after refusing her team's orders to board a flight home from Tokyo.
The United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken blasted Belarus' attempt to send her home against her wishes, saying it was an intolerable "transnational repression", and Warsaw has offered her a humanitarian visa.
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