IF MUTAZ Essa Barshim’s achievement went very much on expected lines, 400M hurdler Abdulrahman Samba was undoubtedly the surprise package as he stunned an incredibly-elite field, comprising Olympic champion Kerron Clement of USA and South African L J van Zyl to clinch the yellow metal.
Samba had shown glimpses of his talent in March at the Sasol-NWU International Meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, where he won with a personal best of 48.31.
At the pre-event Press conference, Qatar Athletics Federation (QAF) Assistant General Secretary Talal Mansour had singled out Samba for special praise.
It took Samba just five days to prove his mentor right and, in his hour of glory, he spoke in awe of the man who inspired him.
“He (Talal) has been motivating me in a great way. I thank him for his guidance,” said Samba.
Samba has enjoyed an exciting season so far. The breakthrough win in Doha could be a harbinger of things to come.
“I say thank you to God, I ran good. I knew we had eight athletes in a line and had to beat the rest. I’m delighted. This’ll give me more confidence.
“I competed against champions and this is such an honour. I’m very happy with the outcome and the focus is now on the World Championships,” added Samba as he obliged fans with selfies.
Talal, probably Qatar’s first track and field hero, said Samba was yet to produce his best.
“Wait! I say wait for three months. He’ll do better,” said Talal.