WRITTEN FOR THE BISLETT GAMES MEDIA TEAM
A trio of one lap hurdlers announced their intentions to test out new race plans in the Bislett Games tomorrow evening, with stride patterns and fast times the talk of the table.
Olympic champion, Dalilah Muhammad of the USA is enjoying a superb IAAF Diamond League campaign so far this summer season – with victory in Shanghai, second place in Eugene and third position in Rome last week – and the 28-year-old is looking to clinch the win on her debut in Oslo:
“This is my sixth race (of the season) – I always give my best and to win is definitely the prize,” she revealed.
“I feel like I’m on the cusp of really finding my race pattern so I’ll see how it goes tomorrow, and the plan will hopefully get me the time I want – I definitely want a season’s best.”
The world silver medalist recorded a fine 53.77 2018 best in China which currently ranks her second on the world list, and Muhammad is relishing the prospect of continuing her rich vein of form in the Norwegian capital:
“The weather is beautiful here so I’m excited about that and I definitely want to drop a fast time here,” she explained.
“Having a sell-out crowd is an extra bonus and an extra motivator to run fast. If I go to hurdle seven (with my new race plan), I’ll be ok with that.”
With no global championship for the Americans to target this year, Muhammad continued:
“There are no big majors for me this year so the focus is on setting myself up for running well next year by running fast this year.
“It’s difficult to stay motivated so the big focus is on the Diamond League, I’m even more looking forward to it this year.”
Local interest comes in the form of Norwegian record holder, Amalie Luel, who will ignite her 2018 campaign in front of a supportive home crowd:
“It’s my first race tomorrow so I’m nervous but I should be and it makes me excited,” explained the 55.38 sprinter.
“I will enjoy it as much as possible and I’m fortunate to open up on my home track.”
The 24-year-old NCAA indoor 4x400m relay champion participated in the combined events until the close of the 2016 season but Luel now concentrates on the 400m hurdles as her specialist event, having only competed in the shorter distances this year:
“I wanted to do something different this year and to try something new – I opened up differently and it was super fun so I’m happy that I did it,” she revealed.
“What’s better than to open up (in the 400m hurdles) in your home meet? This year, I am 100% focused on being a full-time athlete – in the past, I have had to combine it with my studies, so I am now excited to see how this will transfer into the meeting.
“I will probably go to hurdle eight with my pattern but try to keep going for as long as I can (until I switch my stride). I’m still learning in every race and I build on each one.”
Another local athlete, Line Kloster will line up against the strong international field:
The 28-year-old began her season last Friday with a 56.67 clocking, having set her 56.18 personal best last summer.
The national 400m indoor champion won the national 400m race at the 2017 Bislett edition and she said ahead of next appearance:
“I’m really nervous but I look forward to seeing what good shape I am in for this early in the season, I know I can run a personal best if I don’t mess up.
“Tomorrow is only my second race, the hurdles is my best event – I really don’t like the 400m. I will just go for it and hope it plans out.”
On her new race strategy, Kloster continued:
“I’m going to try 15 strides to hurdle six for the first time and I’ve changed my lead foot this year, so there is a lot of new things that need to come together.”
And on embracing the partisan support, Kloster she explained:
“All of my family will come to watch and they will make a lot of noise – it’s great to compete on home soil, it’s something special and gives me extra energy to give my best.”