Abderrahman Samba has suprised and enthalled track fans this summer, with his amazing series of 400 meter hurdle races. A 46.98 was the fastest, run on June 30 in Meeting de Paris, Samba had accomplished only the second time a human had gone under 47 seconds for the 400 meter hurdles, the most sinister of track races.
Consider this. Most sports scientist believe that a well trained human can run to lactate collapse in about 35 seconds, perhaps 40 seconds. That is about the 300 meters in a flat 400 meter race. Add ten hurdles to the one lapper, and athletes swear that the heights of the hurdles get higher and higher as one gets into the race.
The battles of Samba and Warholm, and now McMaster, has captivated the thoughts of many sports fans. Norway’s Warholm, the World Champion, Qatar’s Samba and Jamaica’s McMaster, give countries around the world something to cheer for. The fastest time in the world, ever is the iconic run of Kevin Young, as he ran for gold medal in 1992 Barcelona, Young went crazy, and ran 46.78 on 6 August 1992, destroying the 47.02 WR of one Edwin Moses.
Here’s a fine piece by Stuart Weir on one of the revelations of 2018.
Kriss Akabusi – himself an Olympic and World Championship medallist – was once asked if he had ever run with Edwin Moses. The quick-witted Akabusi replied: “No, I have never run with Edwin” before adding “but I have often run behind him!
Modern 400H runners might say the same about Abderrahman Samba who won the Lausanne race in 47.42, which would have been a spectacular time for anyone else but not Samba. This year Samba has already won Diamond League races in Doha, Rome, Oslo, Stockholm and Paris as well as Lausanne. His slowest time was Oslo (47.60) and the fastest 46.98 in Paris.
He said of the Lausanne race: “I am happy with the race tonight. I went out stronger than usual in the first part of the race. So although it looked easy, the last 100m were tough as always. Your knees are going down and you have to fight on every step to maintain your speed but I am happy with my fitness at the moment. I want to break the world record. It clearly is a goal for me in my career as an athlete. Now, whether it will happen this year or in the coming ones is hard to say and not really of major importance in the grand scheme of things. The objective of the season for me is the Asian Games which will take place towards the end of August”.
The world record is 46.78 set by Kevin Young in the Barcelona 1992 Olympic final. And who was third in that final? A certain Mr Akabusi!
Jack Green (GB) has run behind Samba a few times this year, including last night. I wondered what his impression was of Samba. ” Fast! Samba is impressive, being able to put together races back to back. 46 one week, then 47. He is consistently there all the time. Fair play, he’s obviously put the work in. But it is not just that, it’s the way he’s executing races, whatever the conditions – which in 400H is really hard to do. I’m looking forward to being in more races with him and hopefully watching him against Benjamin next year”.
Ah yes Rai Benjamin against Abderrahman Samba, that would be interesting. But, fear not, RunBlogRun can tell all 400 hurdlers how to beat Samba. It is as Mark McCormack said about Roger Federer – if I wanted to beat Federer, I wouldn’t try to do it at tennis!