Olympics-Bol wins European 400m hurdles gold with world-leading time

Athletics - European Athletics Championships - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - June 11, 2024 Netherlands' Femke Bol in action during the women's 400m hurdles final REUTERS/Aleksandra Szmigiel

(Reuters) - Femke Bol set a world-leading time to claim a dominant victory in the women's 400m hurdles at the European Athletics Championships on Tuesday and the Dutch athlete said she could go even quicker at the Paris Olympics.

Bol, who won bronze in the 400m hurdles at the Tokyo Games, crossed the line in a championship record 52.49 seconds in Rome to win her second European gold in the event and fourth overall.

The 24-year-old's effort saw her better American rival Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone's season-leading mark of 52.70 set last month.

"It's never easy, you can never take anything for granted, which is why it's important to stay focused on myself and not think about what's happening around me," Bol said.

"Even though on a night like this it becomes much harder. This atmosphere is amazing, it gives me chills.

"And Rome always has a special meaning for me: I love this track and this stadium. I worked hard for these championships and I arrived here in good shape, I believe I can be even better at the Olympics."

Norway's Olympic champion Karsten Warholm also set a championship record and world leading time of 46.98 in the men's race to win his third European gold.

"With the European Championships being a bit earlier in the year, I've been able to test a few things and I’ve been getting the right answers," the world record holder told Athletics Weekly.

"For me the pace is where I want it to be and we're fighting towards more."

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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