04 May, 2018

Team Qatar’s Samba and Barshim storm to victory and defend Doha titles to delight of home-crowd

Abderrahman Samba continued his scintillating form so far in 2018 to storm to victory in the Men’s 400m hurdles smashing the Diamond League record, Doha meeting record and his own Qatar national record in the process, with a time of 47.57. Two-time World Champion and 2008 Olympic bronze medallist, Bershawn Jackson of the USA finished second over 1.5 seconds behind in 49:08, with last year’s Diamond League Champion, Kryon McMaster third in 49.46. Speaking afterwards, Samba said:

“I’ve defended my title – YES! I’m very happy for me and for Qatar. Winning at home is an amazing feeling, especially to break not only my record and the National Record, but the Diamond League record as well. I have a feeling this will be a great season for me, and all I want to do is run even faster. The audience was so welcoming and I want t also thank everyone for being here today.”

There was further reason for Qatari celebrations in the high jump as Qatari legend Mutaz Barshim lived up to expectation and created further history as cleared 2.40m for an incredible sixth consecutive season. The 2017 IAAF World Athlete of the Year, World Champion and Diamond League Champion has not been beaten outdoors since 2016 and looked strong as he got his campaign to defend his Diamond League title off to a winning start. Barshim attempted the meeting record of 2.42m but was not able to clear it on this occasion. Syria’s World bronze medallist Majd Eddin Ghazal finished second with 2.33m and Donald Thomas of the Bahamas finished third with 2.30m. Celebrating afterwards, Barshim said:

“My mother is here, she’s cheering for me. I’m really blessed. I made some mistakes, but very happy with the result and proud. I feel so great winning. I was not fit to succeed in all the jumps but still extremely happy at the end. I wanted to break a record today but still very ambitious for the rest of the season. Being here was so many great Qatari athletes, such as Haroun and Samba is just amazing. It’s a testament to the fact that Qatar really has some great talent.”

The men’s javelin lived up to its pre-event hype with three men throwing over 90 metres. Last year’s Doha Diamond League winner and Olympic Champion, Thomas Röhler threw just 22cm further than team-mate and World Champion Johannes Vetter to claim a back-to-back Doha victory with a throw of 91.78m. It was a Germany clean-sweep with Andreas Hofmann throwing 90.08m to take third. Commenting on his victory, Röhler said:

“Today was great, but it wasn’t easy. There’s always room for improvement. My teammates and I travel together and train together, which motivates me always. I’ve been preparing and knew I could throw that far. I was even able to take some risks today, and I know that I’m in good physical shape.”

In the Women’s pole vault, 2018 World Indoor Champion, Sandi Morris of the USA cleared 4.84m to claim victory and a Doha meeting record. She beat World, Olympic and Diamond League Champion, Katerina Stefanidi of Greece, who could only manage 4th with a jump of 4.64m. Britain’s Holly Bradshaw came second and American Indoor Champion, Katie Nageotte, finished third.

World silver medallist Marie-Josée Ta Lou stormed to victory in the women’s 100m with a world-lead time and personal best of 10.85s, with Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteg finishing second in 10.90 and Olympic Champion Elaine Thompson finishing third in 10.93. Ta Lou said afterwards:

“Everyone on the track is my rival, but I honestly competed to see what I can do and am really happy with my win – more than anything though, I’m so happy about the time! My aim for this season is just to do my best and maybe be able to win the Diamond League. I don’t want to say I want to win everything this year, but if I get to beat my PB again like today, then that would be fantastic.”

In the men’s triple jump, Cuba’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo once again beat two-time Olympic Champion, three-time World Champion and six-time Diamond League Champion Christian Taylor on Doha soil. In 2015, the two created the greatest triple jump competition in history as they both jumped over 18 metres. This time, the distances were shorter with Pablo jumping a world-latest of 17.95 and Taylor jumping 17.81m.

2017 Diamond League winner in the 200m, Noah Lyles of the USA got his 2018 campaign off to a winning start with a meeting record of 19.83s. He beat 2017 World bronze medallist Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago and World Champion Ramil Guliyev of Turkey into second and third place respectively. Lyles said:

“The race was fun. We knew it was hot this morning, but surprisingly it was still hot in the evening. Right now, I just hope my performance stays the same. I definitely don’t plan to stay ranked second; I want to step back into first place at the Diamond League. I’m working to fix some things in my performance and continue to get better. For me, outdoor is easier and I need to keep my turns tight and set my mind ahead for the season.