Doha, Qatar: Considering what he has been doing the whole of last season, Abderrahman Samba was supposed to cruise to victory at the Asian Athletics Championship at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.
And despite his top-three rivals registering their personal best efforts, that’s exactly what the 23-year-old Qatari did on Monday to win Qatar’s first gold in the championship.
Samba was unchallenged once he found his stride and he was happy with his time of 47.51 which is a world-leading mark and a championship record.
“I’m so happy today. It’s actually a pretty good race to start the season with 47.5. It’s an amazing start to the season,” said a beaming Samba.
“I am so happy to bring the first gold medal for Qatar. I hope more medals come. Inshah Allah I am going to run the 400m relay too,” he said.
“The plan was to push hard in the first 300m. After the seventh hurdle I changed from 13 steps between the hurdles to 14. I also had to deal with a headwind in the first metres of the race. It is a good time, but I can go faster,” he added.
Chinese Taipei’s Chieh Chen took silver with 48.92 while India’s Jabir Madari Palliyalil took bronze in 49.13.
Qatar’s Bassem Hemeida also impressed with a personal best (49.45) but had to settle for a fourth-place finish.
A little while later Qatari athletes again were in top form on the track, this time Abdalla Abubaker Haydar winning gold in 800m with a personal best time of 1:44.33sec, which is also a world-leading mark.
“I ran hard from gun to tape and in the end I was rewarded with a new personal best and a world leading time. I haven’t qualified for a major final yet, hopefully I will be able to make it here in Doha at the World Championships,” Abdalla said after the win.
Alzofairi Ibrahim of Kuwait won silver while Jamal Hairane took the bronze. Hassan Abdirahman Saeed, also of Qatar, came fourth.
Meanwhile, China moved to the top of the medals table with four gold, six silver and five bronze.
Bahrain are second also on four gold, but they only have five silver to add to that. India have two gold, three silver and five bronze.