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Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
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Mutaz, Samba play stellar roles for hosts Qatar

High jumper and 400M hurdler turn in inspiring displays while their teammates achieve personal bests at the Doha Worlds.
Mutaz 1
Mutaz Essa Barshim delighted Qatari fans with his scintillating performance at the Athletics World Championships in Doha. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

The 17th IAAF World Championships, held at the iconic Khalifa International Stadium, was the perfect stage for Qatari athletes to shine and they grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

Mutaz Essa Barshim dazzled with a gold-medal winning performance in the high jump while Abderrahman Samba was speed and style personified in the 400M hurdles where he secured a bronze. Their scintillating displays sent the Qatari fans who had turned up in large numbers at the stadium into a frenzy.

The duo had been out of the spotlight for long periods with injuries and helped Qatar match their best-ever show at the IAAF Worlds from two years ago in London.

Mutaz became the first male high jumper in history to defend his world title. Cuban Javier Sotomayor had also won gold twice, but in 1993 (Stuttgart) and ’97 (Athens). The 28-year-old Mutaz, who was out of action for close to 14 months following an ankle injury, had been in a race against time to be fit. He delivered on the big stage.

Samba 1
Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba celebrates after finishing third in the 400M hurdles final. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

“Many people felt I wasn’t ready and asked me to skip the Doha event, lest I injure myself again. But I wanted to jump in front of my family and supporters. After the qualification round, I knew I was poised for big jumps in the final. I thank everyone for never stopping believing in me,” he told Inside Qatar.

Mutaz had finished his qualification round as second overall, with a then-season’s best height of 2.29M. It was mostly smooth sailing for him in the final, with only 2.33M proving to be troublesome.

Once he cleared it on his third attempt, Mutaz grew confident and sailed over 2.35M and a world-leading 2.37M to clinch gold.

Mutaz, who has two world titles (’17 and ’19) and an Olympic silver (’16) and bronze medal (’12), has already etched his name in the annals of Qatar’s sports history.

Abderrahman Samba, despite his much-publicised rivalry with Norway’s Karsten Warholm and USA’s Rai Benjamin, had a low-key build-up to the 400M hurdles race.

The 24-year-old, who suffered from a hamstring injury and last raced in May this year, topped the qualification round (49.08sec) before improving it to 48.72 in the semifinals.

In the final, Samba showed great character to finish third in 48.03. Understandably, he was elated to be on the podium.

Ashraf Amjad
Ashraf Amjad Elsaify during the men’s hammer throw final at the Khalifa International Stadium.IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

“Just two days before the final, I wasn’t even sure I would compete. To come from that point and win bronze is amazing. It was a long season filled with injuries, but I still finished on a high. It’ll motivate me to bigger achievements next season,” he told Inside Qatar.

Hammer thrower Ashraf Amjad El Saify impressed the home crowd by qualifying for the final.

The former double World Under-20 champion (’12 and ’14) made the cut with a season’s best throw of 76.22M.

However, he could not maintain his form in the final and eventually finished ninth (75.41M).

At 24, he is still young. If Ashraf can work on his technique and prowess and participate in more top-tier finals, the reigning Asian Games champion stands a good chance of becoming one of the world’s strongest throwers.

Abubaker Haydar Abdalla (1:46.11) reached the 800M semifinals, but a slower timing in the next round (1:46.87) saw him fail to make the final.

Young sprinter Owaab Barrow (10.64) set a new personal best time in the men’s 100M prelims but limped out of the first round (12.82sec) with an injury.

Abdelaziz Mohammed set a new season’s best time in 200M.

Among the women, 400M hurdler Mariam Mamdouh Farid set a new personal best time of 1:09.49 seconds but failed to progress past the initial round.

Meanwhile, Abdalelah Haroun, who won bronze for Qatar in the 400M in London in 2017, proved to be a disappointment. Although he ran a season’s best time of 47.76sec, it was not enough to get the runner past the first round.

QATARI ATHLETES AT DOHA WORLDS

MEN
100MOwaab BarrowPrelim – 10.64sec (PB), R-1 – 12.82
200MAbdelaziz MohammedR-1 – 20.75 (SB)
400MAbdalelah HarounR1 – 47.76 (SB)
800MAbubaker Haydar AbdallaR1 – 1:46.11, Semifinals –1:46.87
Jamal HairaneR-1 – 1:46.40
1,500MAbdirahman Saeed HassanR1 – 3:42.24
3,000M steeplechaseYaser Salem BagharabR-1 – 8:39.65
400M hurdlesAbderrahman SambaR-1 – 49.08, Semifinal –48.72, Final –48.03
High jumpMutaz Essa BarshimR-1 – 2.29M (SB), Final – 2.37M (SB, WL)
Hammer throwAshraf Amjad ElseifyR-1 – 76.22M, Final –75.41M
4x100M relayDNS
4x400M relayQatar3:06.25
WOMEN
400M hurdlesMariam Mamdouh FaridR-1 – 1:09.49 (PB)
400MKenza SosseR-1 – 1:06.76