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Karsten Warholm suffers an injury in his season opener

Tough luck at Rabat Diamond League for the 400mH world record holder, Warholm, and Canadians Jerome Blake and William Paulson

Photo by: C/C

Expectations were high for the 400m hurdles world record holder and Olympic champion Karsten Warholm in his first race of the 2022 season at Rabat Diamond League in Morocco. The 26-year-old Norwegian got off to a rocky start, reaching for his hamstring after clearing the first hurdle.

Warholm did not finish the race, limping his way back to the start, where he was seen putting an ice pack on his right hamstring immediately. This was not the start the Olympic champion was hoping for 6 weeks out from World Championships, set to begin on July 15.

It was a tough meet for the Canadian contingent of Jerome Blake and William Paulson. Blake stumbled out of the starting blocks in the 200m and had ground to make up on Kenny Bednarek of the U.S. Olympic 200m silver medallist Bednarek won the race in 20.21, in his first Diamond League action of the season. Blake wound up fifth in 20.74 seconds (+2.0 m/s).

Paulson and the other men in the 1,500m got off to a strange start. When the gun went off for the start of the 1,500, only a few men heard it due to the loud noise around the stadium. Paulson was with the lead group with one lap to go but faded to 11th place in 3:38.23. Jake Wightman of the U.K. made his move with 400m to go and didn’t look back, winning in a season’s best 3:32.62.

Other notable performances in Rabat came from Olympic champions Elaine Thompson-Herah in the women’s 100m and Soufiane El Bakkali in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase. Thompson-Herah followed up her win last weekend in Eugene, with another win and sub 11 seconds in Rabat. Thompson-Herah clocked a meet record time of 10.83 seconds, her second-fastest time of the 2022 season. In the 3,000m steeplechase, El Bakkali entertained his home crowd, sitting on his rival Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia until 600m to go. El Bakkali created a gap on Girma with 100m to go, winning the race in a world-leading time of 7:58.28.

The next stop on the Diamond League will be on Thursday, June 9 in Rome, as the track and field season inches closer to the 2022 World Championships.

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