NEW YORK (AFP) – Olympic and world 400metres (m) hurdles medallist Femke Bol opened her season with a bang on Sunday, clocking the fastest women’s indoor 500m ever with a time of 1min 05.63sec at the Boston Indoor Grand Prix.
The Dutch runner became the first woman to break 1:06 at the distance, breaking the previous world best of 1:06.31 set by Russian Olesya Krasnomovets-Forsheva on January 7, 2006.
In other results at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold event, world record-holder Grant Holloway won the 60m hurdles in a world-leading 7.38sec – stretching his win streak to 52 straight races.
There were world-leading performances for American Heather MacLean (4:23.42) and Britain’s Neil Gourley (3:52.84) in the women’s and men’s miles. And Noah Lyles, the 200m outdoor world champion, clocked a personal best of 6.51sec to win the 60m, edging compatriot Trayvon Bromell who was credited with the same time. Ghana’s Benjamin Azamati was third in 6.62sec.
“I’ve been waiting on this for a long time,” said Lyles, who said improvement in the 60m is a stepping stone as he targets both the 200m and 100m this season.
“This is my journey to the 100 – I’ve got to be in it,” he said. “We’re not just coming for the 200 world record. We’re coming for all the world records.”
Bol admitted that in the first race of the season, at an unfamiliar distance, she wasn’t sure if she was on pace for a world best.
“Indoors, it’s the first race, you have no idea at the end,” said the 22-year-old, who is coming off a stellar 2022 season that saw her win European titles in the 400m hurdles, 400m flat and 4x400m relay.
She also won 400m hurdles silver at the World Championships and bronze at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“You train hard but you know when you start competing. I’m happy to go like this. I think it’s even faster than we expected.”
Jamaica’s Leah Anderson was a distant second in 1:08.34.
Bol said she’d been contemplating testing herself over 500m for some time.
“I think it’s never a bad thing to run a bit longer because I hope the 400 will feel a bit easier then,” she said.