Antiguan and Barbudan American athlete Rai Benjamin made a remarkable achievement on the last day of the US Nationals by setting a US Championship record in the men’s 400m hurdles final, clocking an impressive time of 46.62 seconds. This performance ranks as the fifth fastest time ever recorded in this event, with Benjamin himself holding the second fastest time of 46.17 seconds from the Tokyo Olympics.
“I got a shot,” Benjamin expressed after his remarkable feat.
Benjamin further shared, “It’s been a rough two months, so to come out and put that down tells me everything is where it needs to be.”
In only his second 400m hurdles race of the season, Benjamin displayed dominance from start to finish. CJ Allen finished in second place with a time of 48.18 seconds, being the only competitor in close pursuit at the 300m mark. Trevor Bassett secured third place with a time of 48.22 seconds.
As the Olympic and World Championship silver medalist, Benjamin aims to step out from under the shadow of Karsten Warholm by surpassing the Norwegian’s trials mark of 46.75 seconds. However, Warholm, the Olympic champion, still holds the world-leading time (46.52 seconds) from his Diamond League race earlier this year in Oslo. Warholm holds four of the seven fastest times ever recorded in the men’s 400m hurdles.
Describing his close loss to Warholm at the Tokyo Olympics, where Warholm famously became the first person to break the 46-second barrier and set the current world record of 45.94 seconds, Benjamin stated, “It took a very long time for me to find peace. The year that we spent working on that race, and to have it end up like that, it’s heartbreaking.” In an interview with NBC Sports’ Sanya Richards Ross, Benjamin expressed his belief that they are at a pivotal point where something special is about to unfold.
In the women’s race, Shamir Little secured her first victory by defeating 2016 Rio Olympic Champion Dalilah Muhammad, finishing with a time of 53.34 seconds compared to Muhammad’s 53.53 seconds. Anna Cockrell qualified in third place with a time of 54.24 seconds.