Jakarta, August 27, 2018 – The pistol was fired, crowds cheered and a minute later Abderrahman Samba was dancing away to glory with the Qatar’s maroon and white flag held aloft in his hands. It was the final of the men’s 400m hurdles at the athletics stadium during the ongoing 18th Asian Games, on Monday.
For the timekeepers, he finished with 47.66 seconds – a Games Record, even though it was far from his personal best of 46.98 set in Paris, this June. He was well ahead of the silver medallist Dharun Ayyasamy, who crossed the finish-line 1.3 seconds behind – a personal best for the Indian too. Takatoshi Abe, of Japan, went home with a silver, clocking 49.12 seconds.
“I had pushed it today, as it was the final,” said the 5’11” star athlete, who was already in celebration mood even as the rest of the pack was busy catching up. “Yesterday, I took it easy, but today it was the final so I pushed to the line,” he added, and the result was there for everyone to see.
He broke the Games Record and delighted his coach and the fans alike. “I am very happy with the performance, especially as he has broken the championship record,” said Kotze Hendrik, his South African coach.
As for the training to keep up the humid weather conditions, the 22-year old ace hurdler said: “The weather here is the same as that in Qatar and the place where I camp, so it was normal for me.”
In the 3000m steeplechase, Yasser Bagharab kept the Qatari flag flying high, finishing with a silver behind Iran’s Hossein Keyhani, who set the Games Record clocking 8:22.79 minutes. Bagharab ended with 8:28.21 minutes while and Kazuya Shiojiri who clocked 8:29.42 minutes made it to the podium with the bronze medal.
Also, Qatar’s handball team reached the final beating South Korea 27-20. The ‘Men in Maroon’ will now take on arch-rivals Bahrain, who beat Japan 31-20, on Friday.
With this gold Qatar’s medal tally is now seven with three golds, three silvers and a bronze.