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Canadian teenager Christopher Morales Williams runs 400m indoor world record

Morales Williams runs at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, California, last year. (Kirby Lee / AP via CNN Newsource)
Morales Williams runs at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, California, last year. (Kirby Lee / AP via CNN Newsource)
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Canadian teenager Christopher Morales Williams ran a stunning 400-meter world indoor record at the SEC Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Saturday.

Morales Williams’ winning time of 44.49 is 0.08 seconds faster that American Kerron Clement’s record from 2005 set on the same track, though the 19-year-old’s effort is pending ratification by global governing body World Athletics.

In 2018, American Michael Norman ran an indoor time of 44.52 which couldn’t be ratified as a record by World Athletics.

“The world record – I guess that’s something you wouldn’t really expect to happen, but it did,” Morales Williams told reporters after Saturday’s race. “I put it up there as a goal but wasn’t really expecting to break it right now.”

His performance knocked 0.9 seconds off his previous best time and was more than a second faster than Jamaica’s Jevaughn Powell, who finished a place behind him in Saturday’s final.

But even more incredible was the fact that the University of Georgia sophomore had been unwell the morning before the race.

“I didn’t really feel all too well, I was throwing up,” he said in a post-race interview. “Actually, I was sick this morning. But I think that pushed me to try a bit harder. I just gave it [my] all and I kept going, kept going. And then I guess that’s always the result of it.”

Morales Williams won the Canadian national championships and a silver at the Pan American U20 championships last year. Prior to that, he was part of Canada’s silver medal team in the 4x400-metre relay at the World U20 Championships in 2022.

As a high school student in Ontario, he was praised for his focus and work ethic, even running up to 12 kilometres (7.46 miles) on his own – an unusually long distance for sprinters – when facilities were closed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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