Doha: Abderrahman Samba was definitely having fun. He had swapped his compression shorts and athletic vest for a crisp white thobe and gutra, and instead of the almost-intimidating determination, he was wearing a warm smile on his face as he answered questions from the media at the Khalifa International Stadium on Thursday.
How can he not be smiling? Qatar’s champion 400M hurdler is enjoying a well-deserved offseason after a series of blazing performances during which he constantly threatened Kevin Young’s world record of 46.78.
Even though he had to be content with the distinction of becoming the second only athlete to finish under 47sec mark (46.98), Samba feels he has just started.
“I certainly hope the next season will be even better,” said Samba. “My coach (Hennie Kotze) and I think we can go even faster. We are getting better.”
Even though there is still one full year to go for the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Samba said he cannot wait to compete in front of his home fans.
“My heart is already racing, and the adrenaline is pumping just by standing on the track. To compete in a stadium of this significance in front of my family and nation will be amongst the greatest moments of my career,” Samba had earlier said at the press conference.
“I’m also excited to show my fellow athletes from all corners of the world what we can offer is not only world-class hospitality and facilities, but also the talent we have coming through the ranks. In turn, the world’s best will help myself and Team Qatar athletes inspire the next generation to take to the track for the first time - it will be a defining moment for all Team Qatar athletes.”
Like Samba, ace Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim also constantly threated world record until an injury cut his season short.
Samba says it serves well for Qatar that both of them are after world records.
“It’s great that we are in that position. Mutaz and I certainly hope to beat the world record in our fields one day. Hopefully, it will be next year in Doha.”