By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Kyron McMaster chased down Norway’s Karsten Warholm in the last 30 meters, gritting his teeth and dipping at the line, to successfully defend his International Association of Athletics Federations Diamond League 400m Hurdles title on Thursday, August 30, while keeping his winning streak against the 2017 IAAF World champion intact.
In the closest finish of their four races since last year’s Diamond League final also held in Zurich, Switzerland, at the Weltklasse Classic, McMaster stopped the Norwegian’s golden quest by 0.02 seconds, to win the 400m Hurdles race in 48.08 seconds to his rivals’ 48.10.
“After the last hurdle, it was just run,” McMaster told Island Sun Sports. “Just get over the hurdle and try to come out on top.”
With the victory, McMaster collected the $50,000 prize and the Diamond League trophy, while Warholm got $20,000 for his effort.
“It always feels good to win a title, especially when you’re working against a lot of odds and being injured so many times in one season,” McMaster said. “This is my first season being injured about three times and still being able to come back.”
McMaster let Warholm take his usual charging start from the blocks and said his own strategy didn’t go as planned.
“It just has to do with a lot of mental stuff in that aspect and I feel it could have gone a lot better, under different circumstances under different weather,” he said. “The weather was really cold as well.”
McMaster opened his Diamond League campaign in Doha, Qatar with third place in 49.46 seconds on May 4, as hometown favorite Abderrahman Samba took the tape in a personal best of 47.57 seconds.
After missing races in Rome, Oslo and Stockholm, McMaster returned to action in Paris on June 30, with a personal best effort and improved his BVI record from 47.80 seconds, with a second placed run of 47.54 seconds, behind Samba’s 46.98—the second fastest time in the history of the event. Samba joined Kevin Young, the first man to break 47.00 seconds with his 46.78 time in winning the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games title. Warholm finished third in 48.06.
After making up the stagger on Samba, McMaster pulled out of the race with discomfort on July 5 in Lausanne, Switzerland, with a cramp. Samba ran 47.42 seconds for victory and Warholm was second in 47.94.
On Saturday, McMaster will face both Samba and Warholm again in the season ending Continental Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic. McMaster will be representing the Americas, Samba, Asia-Pacific and Warholm, Europe. They will be competing for points to help their respective continents, towards winning the coveted cup. The winner collects $30,000, second place $15,000 and third place, $10,000.
The trio are coming off claiming their respective regional titles. Samba, who skipped the Diamond League final, won last week’s Asian Games 400m Hurdles in a Games record 47.66 seconds. In mid-August, Warholm was the European champ in the event with a personal best of 47.64 seconds, also a European U23 record. McMaster claimed the CAC Games title in a meet record 47.60 seconds in late July, then followed up by winning the NACAC Championships in 48.18, in his final race before the Diamond League final.