Posted on September 07, 2018

Seven years ago, Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba took a decision to give up 800metres for the one-lap sprint, and the things have been going on exceptionally well for the 22-year-old.

“(In 2011) I ran 2:12 (in 800 metres) and I felt really tired because of the lactic. I think that is when I realised I was not an 800m athlete but a sprinter,” Samba told IAAF in an interview The star athletes is now the fastest 400 metres hurdler in Asia and produced yet another extraordinary exhibition in his pet event at the Paris IAAF Diamond League meeting on June 30 as he became only the second man to run the event in under 47 seconds. In Paris, Samba clocked 46.98 secs – just 0.20 off the world record set by United States’ Kevin Young on his way to win the 1992 Olympic title.

Unbeaten in all six of his appearances in the IAAF Diamond League this season, Samba leads the standings with an amazing 48 points, in only his second full season of 400m hurdling. “For many years I focused on the 200m and 400m and I did not even think about the 400m hurdles,” Samba told IAAF website.

“It was during a South African training camp in March last year when my coach (Hennie Kotze) gave me some 400m hurdles tests out of the blocks. It went well, we were both excited by the possibilities in the event, so we decided to compete at the following weekend’s club meeting, where I recorded 50.53. Then a week later, in only my second ever 400m hurdles race, I ran below the World Championships qualification time with a 49.24 time. I liked the success I was enjoying in my new-found event and this is why I decided to specialise as a 400m hurdler,” the Qatari athlete said.

“There is no doubt the 400m hurdles is a very challenging event. It tests many things like endurance, speed, good technique and a good stride pattern but I think that is why I enjoy it, Samba, who secured a double at the recently concluded Asian Games, winning gold in both 400m hurdles and the 4x400m relay, said.

Samba’s appearance in the Indonesian capital during the continental Games made headlines when he smashed the Games record of 48.42 when he clocked 47.66 secs in the 400m hurdles final. “I like being able to learn something from every race, and I also have the extra bonus of being able to travel to other countries around the world. I am lucky to make money from my passion, but I’ve also met many kind people and made many great friends from my time in the sport,” Samba, one of the biggest stars in current world of athletics, said.

“I enjoy the 400m hurdles for many reasons. Good training sessions make me excited, happy and lift my confidence and I also love to break records and make history in competition. I am very thankful for the talent God gave me and I just want to be able to fulfil my potential,” Samba said.

source: The Peninsula