'A huge time': Samba runs fastest 400 hurdles in a decade
ROME (AP) — Abderrahman Samba of Qatar ran the fastest 400-meter hurdles in nearly a decade, surging ahead of a stellar field to set a Diamond League record at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea meet Thursday.
Samba trailed world champion Karsten Warholm of Norway before bursting into the lead around the final turn at the Stadio Olimpico to clock 47.48 seconds.
It was the fastest time in the event since Angelo Taylor ran 47.25 to take gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"I now hope every race will feel like this," said Samba, who had already set the world-leading time this year with his 47.57 at the opening Diamond League meet on his home track in Doha.
"I don't know how fast I can run but we will see in the near future," added Samba, who is of Mauritanian descent.
Warholm crossed second in 47.82 while Olympic champion Kerron Clement came sixth.
"It's a huge time, and I just have to try to chase it," Warholm said. "Now he's the best and I'm just second and that counts for nothing, I guess. So I'll try to chase him.
Also, American sprinter Ronnie Baker won the 100 in a personal-best 9.93 seconds to shave four hundredths off his world-leading time at the first European stop of the circuit.
Warholm was also challenged by Samba at last year's world championships in London. Samba was in second place and gaining on the Norwegian until he stumbled at the final hurdle and dropped to seventh.
"He runs extremely good," Warholm added. "So it's not surprising but it's very impressive."
Samba also set a meet record, improving on the 47.73 that two-time Olympic champion Felix Sanchez clocked in 2002. Only one man has ever eclipsed the 47-second barrier in the event: Kevin Young set the still-standing world record of 46.78 at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
"Thank you to my rivals for pushing me," Samba said. "I told Karsten, 'Thank you, especially.' We are now giving the 400 hurdles the attention it deserves."
In the 100, fellow American Christian Coleman was keeping pace with Baker until the latter kicked into another gear over the last 25 meters.
Jimmy Vicaut of France crossed second in 10.02 and home favorite Filippo Tortu came third in 10.04.
Coleman, who set the world indoor 60-meter world record earlier this year, finished fourth in 10.06.
In other events, Mariya Lasitskene of Russia posted her 40th consecutive victory in the high jump, clearing 2.02, to extend a streak that began nearly two years ago; and Luvo Manyonga of South Africa improved his world lead in the long jump with a leap of 8.58 — improving on his 8.56 in Shanghai in May.
Also, two-time Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic won the discus with a meet-record throw of 68.93 as she aims for a record-extending seventh Diamond League title.
"Now I hope to take the meeting record in the other five (Diamond League) competitions," Perkovic said.
World champion Sam Kendricks won the pole vault by clearing 5.84 on his final attempt.
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