TOKYO, Japan — Karsten Warholm will race from his favored outside position in lane eight when he opens his quest to win the gold medal in the men’s 400m hurdles at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Thursday’s Day One (July 29). The local time for this event is Friday morning in Tokyo.
Warholm who will be hunting his first Olympic title, will begin his search for that top podium honor when he lines up in the third heat of five.
The Norway superstar failed to advance beyond the semifinal round five years ago at the last Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but returned to win back-to-back world titles in 2017 and 2019 before adding the world record of 46.70 seconds to his achievements on July 1, running from his favorite lane seven starting spot.
He did so from his favored eighth lane, the same spot he will open his Tokyo 2020 journey.
Warholm should have little trouble navigating through the first round of the event in the morning session on Thursday.
Lining up against him is Irishman Thomas Barr who has a personal best of 47.97s and a seasonal best of 48.39s. The improving Italian Alessandro Sibilio and Marcio Teles of Brazil are also in the same heat as Warholm.
Meanwhile, 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials champion Rai Benjamin, another very heavy gold medal contender in this event, will start his hunt for the title underway from heat five and like Warholm, he too should have little trouble advancing to the semifinals.
Rasmus Mägi of Estonia, a finalist at Rio 2016 and former European silver medalist, is slowly returning to his best form this season after running a year’s best of 48.49s last month. He’s ranked among the top 15 runners this season in the 400m hurdles.
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Takatoshi Abe of Japan who has a year best of 48.87s, will also take on Benjamin, the fastest man all-time with his PB of 46.83s.
Elsewhere in the men’s 400m hurdles heats, South American record-holder and the third-fastest man in the discipline this year, Alison dos Santos of Brazil will race from heat one.
Dos Santos who owns a lifetime and seasonal best mark of 47.34s, is in the form of his life and the evidence is there for us to see with six of his best-ever performances coming in 2021, including five under 48-seconds.
World bronze medalist Abderrahmane Samba of Qatar is still searching for his best form this season and will hope to get it right at these Games. He will get an early test as he’s been drawn alongside dos Santos in heat one along with Jamaica’s Kemar Mowatt.
In the meantime, Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands will be targeting an improved finish at a major championship after just missing a medal at the 2019 Doha World Championships when finishing fourth. He will start in heat four on Thursday.
McMaster has raced sparingly this season, but both times he’s crossed the finishing line he’s run under 48-seconds.
The 24-year-old clocked a national record of 47.50s when finishing second to Benjamin at the 2021 USATF Golden Games in May and then posted 47.82s in another quick race behind the American at the Doha Diamond League meeting at the end of the month.
Yasmani Copello of Turkey, USA’s David Kendziera, and Kazuki Kurokawa of Japan will all join McMaster in the fourth heat.
Kenny Selmon of the United States and Jamaica champion Jaheel Hyde will lead the starters in heat two.
The top 4 athletes across the line in each heat, plus the next 4 fastest times overall, will advance to the semifinals.
The men’s 400m hurdles heats will get underway at 10:25 pm ET on Thursday night.