Mclaughlin-Levrone sets world leading time on 400m hurdles return

athletics01 June 2024 04:07| © AFP
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Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone © Gallo Images

Olympic champion Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone cruised to victory in a world-leading 52.7 seconds in her first 400m hurdles race for nearly two years in Atlanta on Friday.

McLaughlin-Levrone, the 2021 Tokyo Games gold medalist and world record holder, had not run her signature event since August 2022.

However the 24-year-old star showed no signs of rust as she left the rest of the field trailing in her wake in Friday's outing at the Edwin Moses Classic at Morehouse College.

McLaughlin-Levrone only plans to compete in the United States this season as she looks ahead to next month's US Olympic trials before targeting the defence of her Olympic title in Paris.

"I love racing and I love Europe, but I think in a year like this and coming back from injury last year I just wanted to be safe," McLaughlin-Levrone said after Friday's win.

"Travel can take a lot out of the body, and hopefully I can get some more races, but I'm just playing it safe until I get to trials."

While McLaughlin-Levrone's winning time was well outside her world record of 50.68 set at the 2022 World Championships, the American was more than happy with her performance on Friday.

"It's a progression, shaking the rust off after two years – I'll take a 52.7. Things to work on and I haven't had much hurdle practice, so there's things to improve," she added.

McLaughlin-Levrone's season-best time was more than a second faster than the next fastest 400m hurdles time by a woman this year, eclipsing the 53.72 set by Jamaica's Rushell Clayton in Kingston on May 11.