DOHA, Oct 1: Karsten Warholm enjoyed the moment of defending his world 400 metres hurdles title but said �crazy times� lie ahead when he will be hunted down by �great opponents�.
The charismatic 23-year-old Norwegian � who in 2017 became his country�s first world champion since Inge Kristiansen in 1987 � won impressively.
He put clear space between himself and the other two athletes in the final � Rai Benjamin of the United States and Qatar�s Abderrahman Samba � who had broken the magical 47 second mark.
Warholm, who had come out pumped for the race bellowing when his name was announced and pumping his fists, said the comfortable nature of his win did not make him complacent about the future challenges he faced at the Olympics next year.
�With these great opponents, every one of them sub-47 I am going to have to work very hard,� he said.
�These guys are going to hunt me.
�Crazy times ahead and I am not going to sleep!�
Warholm, who smashed the European record when he went under 47sec in Zurich in August, said he was not fussed he had been well off the 27-year-old world record of Kevin Young.
�To be honest I do not care,� he said.
�It was only about the gold medal today.
�If I won it in 1 minute I would not care.
�I go out to have fun and run the race, who knows others around me may take the record one day.�
Warholm, who said he would not double up in the 400m flat as he had only entered in case he messed up in the hurdles, remarked although he is the hunted one he does not let thoughts of his opponents get to him.
�I have very huge respect for my opponents like Samba,� he said.
�I am very humble to be in his company.
�I always focus on my own journey and not get stressed very much.
�For me it was just to realise my potential and it went well for me.� Warholm, whose lively wit and sparkle could make him the poster boy for the sport which it so badly needs, was phlegmatic about performing his victory lap, in a virtually empty stadium. � AFP