Dalilah Muhammad breaks 400m hurdles world record

Olympic Champion Dalilah Muhammad smashed the 16-year-old record in 400 meter hurdles at the USA Track and Field (USATF) Outdoor Championships in Iowa on Sunday.

Muhammad, the hurdle specialist, finished the race with a time of 52.20 seconds, according to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). She was 0.14 seconds faster than the previous record set in 2003 by Yuliya Pechonkina, the IAAF said.

“I’m still in shock,” Muhammad said after clocking 52.20s on a wet track, similar to the conditions for her Rio Olympic title.

The celebration didn’t match the enormity of the moment. Muhammad saw her time, clapped her hands and leaned over momentarily before accepting a hug from McLaughlin, who finished second in 52.88 to make her first world team.

“I’ve been kind of hitting that time in practice consistently,” said Muhammad, whose previous personal best was 52.64 from 2017. “I was hoping for it this whole weekend.”

With puddles of water on the Drake Stadium track after showers earlier in the afternoon, the 29 year old Muhammad set a blistering pace from the outset, and hit the final straight with a clear lead from rising star Sydney McLaughlin.

McLaughlin finished second in 52.88s with Ashley Spencer third in 53.11s.

Muhammad will have a chance to defend her gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games, where the Olympic record is Natalya Antyukh’s 52.70, but first she will head to the world championships in Doha in late September.

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