Samba eyes Tokyo breakthrough




Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba was thrown an Olympic lifeline when the postponement of the Tokyo Games allowed him to make a timely recovery from injury that will see him ready to target a podium finish in the 400m hurdles.

The 25-year-old, born in Saudi Arabia to Mauritanian parents but now a naturalised Qatari, will head to the Japanese capital alongside a handful of arch-rivals all on the cusp of being capable of breaking the long-standing world record in the event.

Samba came to prominence at the Asian Games in 2018, going on to set what was at the time the second fastest 400m hurdles time ever run — 46.98 seconds — later that year.

After a bout of injury last year, the fast-talking youngster, called “Baby” by his coach, will be hoping to prove he is fully recovered by winning a medal in Tokyo.

“The last year was very difficult due to the coronavirus pandemic, and there were many pitstops,” Samba told AFP during a training session at Qatar’s elite Aspire academy for athletes.

“The first stop was at the beginning of the season, and I was in South Africa at that time, and the period was very difficult for us.—APP

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