2019 Shanghai DL Diary: In 400m hurdles, another fantastic rivalry, as Samba takes lead after hurdle 8 for the win over Benjamin!


Okay, take this down.

For our sport to succeed, we must have rivalries.

Oh, yes, Rivalries where the best actually race against each other. I did not want there to be a misunderstanding.

Last year, in the 400m hurdles, Abderrahman Samba and Karston Warholm battled, race after glorious race. Samba ran 46.98 and Warholm ran 47.64.

Then, in early June, Rai Benjamin, a collegian in the U.S. ran 47.02!

Benjamin_Rai-NewBalance19.jpgRai Benjamin, photo by PhotoRun.net

That they did not meet last summer.

The day of reckoning would be 18 May 2019.

So, Abderrahman Samba ran 44.60 over 400m flat on 9 April. Then, Rai Benjamin run 44.31 over the flat 400m on 20 April. On 22 April Samba ran 47.51 to win the Asian Champs at 400m hurdles. Over 4x400m, Qatar won in 3:03.95 on 24 April.

Samba_Abderrahman-Stockholm18.jpgAbderrahman Samba, photo by PhotoRun.net

The 400 m hurdles is one of the toughest events in our sport. You take a 400 meter flat, add ten hurdles and see what happens.

In Shanghai, Rai Benjamin gave it all he's got, leading past the 8th hurdle. Abderrahman Samba paced his race well, making his move midway through the distance between hurdles 8 and 9. Benjamin was spent, and could not offer any resistance, as Samba went on to win in 47.27 WL. Benjamin finished second in 47.80. Thomas Barr of Ireland ,in 49.41, finished third.

An ebullent Abderrahman Samba told the mixed zone:

"It is a great feeling for the first Diamond League race of the season. It was a great race and Rai and I pushed each other to the line. The main goal is the World Championships (in Doha) later this year. This year is a big year and I feel better this year."

Rai Benjamin noted after his second place:

"This is my first Diamond League competition in the 400m hurdles and I am quite excited about the result today. I have not set up any specific objectives for myself since it is still in the very early stage of this season. I will go back home after this stop, keep training and do my best in the coming competitions."

As a track fan, this event should be watched. Samba, Benjamin and Warholm will all have chances to shake this event up! Stay tuned!

Video of Shanghai DL 400m hurdles, courtesy of IAAF/Diamond League:

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