Samba wins first duel with Benjamin in Shanghai

By Courtesy of the IAAF May 18, 2019
Abderrahman Samba (left) and Rai Benjamnin. Abderrahman Samba (left) and Rai Benjamnin.

Once again, Abderrahman Samba stole the Diamond League spotlight with another superb performance to highlight the IAAF Diamond League Shanghai on Saturday (18).

Already in the spotlight as the key protagonist in the meeting’s most eagerly anticipated face-off, Samba lived up to expectations with a decisive victory over Rai Benjamin in the pair’s first head-to-head battle.

Running to the Qatari’s outside in lane five, Benjamin, son of former West Indies fast Bowler Winston Benjamin and the third fastest 400m hurdler of all-time, took the early lead, leading Samba, history’s second-fastest ever, by about half a stride until the pair reached the fifth hurdle. Samba briefly pulled ahead, but Benjamin kept up the pressure through the turn as they approached hurdle nine. There, Benjamin lost his rhythm, giving Samba an opening he took full advantage of. Three strides later, Samba was in the lead for good, padding his advantage as he cleared hurdle ten before crossing the line in 47.27, the second fastest time of his career in just his second race of the season. And he did it on less than a handful of restless hours or sleep after losing a battle with jetlag.

“To be honest with you, I couldn't sleep last night,” Samba said. “I fell asleep this morning at about 7 and got up at 10:30. But I’m so happy. It’s my second fastest time so I think the season will be great again like last year.” It was his 12th straight victory.

Only eight other men have ever run faster, Benjamin, who clocked 47.02 last year, among them. Despite his late-race dip in fortunes, the 21-year-old was pleased.

“I was good until (hurdles) 9 and 10 - I wish I could have those hurdles back - but it's fine, it's the season opener so I can't really complain too much,” said Benjamin, whose 47.80 run was also the second fastest of his career. “I didn't go out too strong, he just had it at the end and I didn't. I just have to go home and work on some things and come back.”

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    Top ranked World Championships

    Based on the IAAF competition performance rankings, used to rank the quality of competitions, the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 tops the list of all World Championships to date.

     

    Taking the best five results and athletes from the best 24 events, the top five editions are:

     

    1. 2019, Doha – 195,869
    2. 2015, Beijing – 194,547
    3. 2017, London – 193,426
    4. 2013, Moscow – 192,664
    5. 2009, Berlin – 191,168

     

    Based on the average scores of all track and field results, the top five editions are:

     

    1. 2019, Doha – 1024.75
    2. 2017, London – 1012.84
    3. 1999, Seville – 1007.98
    4. 2015, Beijing – 1004.78
    5. 2009, Berlin – 1004.55

     

    There have been many outstanding performances over the 10 days of competition with unprecedented depth in many of the finals. Based on the IAAF scoring tables, the top five men’s and women’s performances are:

     

    MEN

    22.91m Joe Kovacs (USA) shot put – 1295pts

    22.90m Tom Walsh (NZL) shot put – 1294pts

    22.90m Ryan Crouser (USA) shot put – 1294pts

    9.76 Christian Coleman (USA) 100m – 1291pts

    43.48 Steven Gardiner (BAH) 400m – 1289pts

     

    WOMEN

    7.30m Malaika Mihambo (GER) long jump – 1288pts

    48.14 Salwa Eid Naser (BRN) 400m – 1281pts

    48.37 Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH) 400m – 1272pts

    3:51.95 Sifan Hassan (NED) 1500m – 1271pts

    6981 Katarina Johnson-Thompson (GBR) heptathlon – 1269pts

     

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    USA’s 200m winner Noah Lyles and Germany’s decathlon victor Niklas Kaul became the youngest ever world champions in their respective events. Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh twice broke the world U20 record on her way to the silver medal in the high jump. She was one of several athletes born in or after the year 2000 who earned medals, along with Ethiopian duo Selemon Barega and Lemecha Girma and Bahrain’s Musa Isah.

    The innovations – including light shows, new camera angles and increased engagement with athletes – have helped the sport reach a younger audience around the world.

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