LONDON – It only dawned on youngster Karsten Warholm that he had become the 400 metres hurdles world champion on Wednesday when he made a Reuters photographer an offer he could not refuse.
Still barely able to comprehend what had happened after becoming Norway’s first world track champion for 30 years, Warholm was down on his haunches, having been given a flag to parade when he looked straight at photographer Phil Noble.
“What’s going on, is this real?” the 21-year-old asked Noble.
When assured it was, Warholm still wasn’t satisfied. “Pinch me,” he demanded.
A surprised Noble leant across and did as he was told, pinching the youngster’s wrist, at which point Warholm concurred.
“Yes, it’s real,” he said before disappearing for his lap of honour in a viking helmet.
Warholm won the event in a quick 48.35 seconds.
Still effectively a novice at the “man-killer” event, the youngster clasped his face in disbelief as it dawned that he had beaten Turkey’s European champion Yasmani Copello (48.49) into the silver medal position.
Warholm also spoiled Olympic champion and favorite Kerron Clement’s dream of becoming the first man to win three world titles at the discipline as the 31-year-old American had to settle for bronze in 48.52.