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McLaughlin-Levrone dominates in US championships 400m win

EUGENE, UNITED STATES (AFP) – Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone continued her push to make the 400 metres (m) her own yesterday, blazing to victory at the US athletics championships in a world-leading 48.74 seconds (s).

McLaughlin-Levrone, the reigning world champion and world record-holder in the 400m hurdles, has switched her focus to the flat race this season with an eye to eventually lowering the world record of 47.60s set by Marita Koch of the former East Germany in 1985.

“The greats always push themselves, and I want to be one of them,” McLaughlin-Levrone said of her decision to take on a new challenge in a season highlighted by the World Championships in Budapest in August.

She took control of the race early and powered away to win easily over Britton Wilson, who was second in 49.79. Talitha Diggs was third in 49.93.

McLaughlin-Levrone’s personal best time improved on the previous world-leading 48.98 set by Marileidy Paulino in on May 27 and gave McLaughlin two potential spots in Budapest, with a bye into the 400 hurdles as defending champion.

“I have no idea,” McLaughlin said of what she’ll race in Budapest. “Obviously make the team is the number one goal, then you go for the win, then you go for the time. So in that order that was my goal and I’m very happy with that time.”

Athing Mu, the 800m world champion, also stepped out of her comfort zone and after a runner-up finish to Nikki Hiltz in the 1,500m refused to rule out what would be a tough double in Budapest.

Like McLaughlin-Levrone, she was cagey on her precise plans, backing off a bit from earlier saying she would “probably not” pursue a double.

“I won’t say that it’s, like, not likely, but I also won’t say that there’s a guarantee that I’ll do it,” she said.