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Last Night In Doha!                                                           2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships


400m Champion Salwa Eid Naser Sees Her Winning Time

Doha, Qatar

October 3rd, 2019

On a day dominated by the concluding, second-day competition in the multi-events, one of the most anticipated track finals in this the 7th day of these world athletics championships was the women’s 400 meters. After a preliminary round on Day 4 followed by 3 semi-final heats the following day, the stage was set for what should be one of the most exciting track finals at these championships.

The final looked to be a showdown between USA’s Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas and Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain. As the only athletes to break 50 seconds in the early rounds, 2016 400m Olympic champion Miller-Uibo [semi winner in 49.66] and ’17 world championship 400m silver medalist Naser [semi winner in 49.79] were expected to lock horns in what was anticipated to be a titanic homestretch battle for the gold. USA’s defending champion Phyliss Francis [50.22 in her semi], her teammate Wadeline Jonathis [a personal best 50.07 in her semi], and the Jamaican athlete Shericka Jackson [50.10 in her semi] all stood ready to pounce if the two favorites would falter.

As the 400 meter final got underway, both Naser and Miller-Uibo got out quickly followed closely by the defending champion Francis. Yet none in that trio appeared to have a sizeable advantage as they entered the final furlong. But it was on the ensuing curve – that 3rd 100 meter segment – when Naser really went to work. Using her superior leg speed, Naser blazed around the bend. And just like that, the Bahraini athlete had forged a sizeable advantage – perhaps 10 meters – heading into the homestretch. Stunned by her rival’s lead, a startled Miller-Uibo attempted to mount a charge. And while the Bahamian athlete made initial inroads into Naser’s lead, the gap proved too large. Racing all the way through the finish line, Naser stopped the clock at 48.14 – the fastest 400 meter time by a woman in nearly 34 years. Miller-Uibo [48.37], soundly defeated, finished strongly as well for the silver while Jamaica’s Jackson finished in 49.47 – a superb mark that would normally win this event under ordinary circumstances – snared the bronze medal. PR’s by Jonathas [49.60] and Francis [49.61] earned the two Americans the 4th and 5th spots.

The quality and depth of this 400 meter final is breathtaking. The top 5 finalists all set personal best times. Naser’s jaw-dropping 48.14 is now #3 on the all-time world list, behind only Germany’s Marita Koch [47.60 set in 1985] and the Czech Jarmila Kratochvilova [47.99 set in 1983]. Miller Uibo’s mark of 48.37 now ranks 6th all-time just behind France’s Marie-Jose Perec [now #4 all time in 48.25 set in 1996] and the Soviet Union’s Olga Bryzgina [now #5 all time in 48.27 set in 1985].

Afterwards, every one of the stunned finalists acknowledged the special nature of this historic race. “I felt pretty good,” said 5th-place Francis as she analyzed her race. “I was just trying to get out. I fell a little back. I was hoping to finish stronger. I kind of lost form with 4-5 meters to go. But I came out with a PB.” Surprise 4th place finisher Waseline Jonathas saw the race as her opportunity to run a personal best time – and she did. “Shaunae and Naser were the targets. I knew it would be a fast race. And I knew I could get something out of this. I was pushing myself to the limit. I am happy.” / Dave Hunter /

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Dunaway AwardAt the 2019 annual meeting of the Track and Field Writers of America, Dave was presented with the James Dunaway Memorial Award “for track & field journalism excellence.”

Dave Hunter

Dave HunterDave Hunter is a track & field journalist, announcer, and broadcaster.  Dave reports on the premier track & field gatherings around the globe, frequently serves as an arena or stadium announcer for championship events, and has undertaken foreign and domestic broadcast assignments in the sport.


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