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Diamond League: Qatar’s Samba lights up Shanghai with season’s best

  • 18 May 2019
  • Author: QT01
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Diamond League: Qatar’s Samba lights up Shanghai with season’s best
Qatar’s 23-year-old Abderrahman Samba, who last year ran the second fastest time in history, sizzled in Shanghai in the men’s 400m hurdles on Saturday returning with a new IAAF Diamond League meet record, world lead and his season’s best.
The tall athlete went stride-for-stride with American Rai Benjamin, co-owner of the third fastest time, before pulling away off the final hurdle to win in 47.27 seconds.
“It was a great race and Rai and I pushed each other to the line,” said the Qatari, who will be looking to give the home nation success at the world championships in Doha later this year.
“This year is a big year and I feel better this year,” he added.
While the men’s 400m hurdles was exciting, the men’s 100m sprint was thrilling.
Noah Lyles exploded over the final third of the race to win in a personal best 9.86 seconds pipping fellow American Christian Coleman in a photo-finish.
Coleman, in his first outing of the year, tore out of the blocks and looked to have the race under control at halfway until Lyle's storming finish caught him with a dip at the line.
World indoor sprint champion Coleman was awarded the same time, the best of the year so far, and the top four all went under 10 seconds with Akani Simbine of South Africa third (9.95) and last year's winner Reece Prescod of Britain fourth (9.97).
"I said to my coach in warm-up 'today is the day'," said Lyles.
"I feel hot. I knew if I got out of the blocks and if I was anywhere close, I knew I could come late for the win."
If the 100m augured well for the season in the sprints, the other most highly anticipated race of the evening, the men's 400m hurdles, did not disappoint either.
American Aleia Hobbs won the women's 100m in 11.03 seconds despite fracturing her wrist playing laser tag two weeks ago, holding off Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare (11.07) and double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson (11.14).
"I was expecting to perform better," said Jamaican Thompson, after her first 100 since midway through last year.
"I will be seeking better performances."
Olympic and world champion Omar McLeod held off local Xie Wenjun to win the Shanghai 110m hurdles for the fourth straight year, crossing the line in 13.12 seconds before collapsing to the track in tears.
"It was difficult for me to compete today," the Jamaican said. "My auntie Tracey died yesterday ... I just wanted to finish, win and get the job done."
Fred Kerley led fellow Americans Michael Cherry and Nathan Strother across the line to win the men's 400m in 44.81, while Bahrain's Salwa Eid Naser clinched the women's one-lap race in 50.65 ahead of Diamond League debutant Sydney McLaughlin.
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