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World record holder McLaughlin aims for 400m hurdles dominance

American Sydney McLaughlin is set for another star turn at Eugene, Oregon’s Hayward Field as the world record holder plans a demolition in the 400 metres hurdles at the World Championships which start on Friday.

All eyes will be on the 22-year-old who has made the extraordinary feel almost routine as she returns to the track where she has now twice broken the world record, Reuters reports.

McLaughlin beat her key rival and world champion Dalilah Muhammad’s previous mark with 51.90 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene a year ago, only to shatter that figure at the Games in Tokyo, picking up gold in 51.46. read more

McLaughlin never faced a serious challenge in the U.S. final in June when she yet again set the bar at 51.41, a performance she credited in part to a bit of “Track Town, USA” magic.

“Any time I come here I can just feel something amazing is going to happen,” she told reporters. read more

While Eugene is the inspiration, the steady hand of coach Bobby Kersee – who has worked with track and field’s most decorated American Allyson Felix – certainly helps.

McLaughlin has kept a limited schedule in 2022, winning the 100m hurdles at the Penn Relays in April before beating the 400m hurdles field in Nashville last month.

“(We’re) continuing to progress and figure out where we could get better,” she told reporters after Kersee pulled her of the NYC Grand Prix at the last minute in June. “Just pushing the bounds of what’s possible.”

The strategy has obviously paid off, with McLaughlin mania sure to swarm through Eugene as the United States host their first World Championships.

“I’m really excited for what’s to come and I think me and my coach are in a really great place mentally. We’re just going to go back, do the work,” she said after winning the nationals.

“Just coming out here and being better than I was the day before, that’s always my expectation and my goal.”

McLaughlin faces a serious challenge from Muhammad, who will be determined to hang onto her world crown after an unsuccessful Olympic title defence in Tokyo.

A decade older, Muhammad has the benefit of experience but enters Eugene after tweaking her hamstring a few weeks back.

The Netherlands’ Tokyo bronze winner Femke Bol, who like McLaughlin is 22, also poses a potential threat.

“I am still hoping to do something very special also in Eugene,” she told reporters after winning the Stockholm Diamond League meet last month in 52.27.

“When you see the results from the Hayward, I am so excited to go there and I have some great competitors out there.”

The World Championships run on July 15-24.

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