As far as Qatar is concerned, there are two disturbing developments from the track and field.
Ace high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim has withdrawn from the Athletissima, the eighth stop-over in the IAAF Diamond League Series in Lausanne, and wonder boy Abderrahman Samba will sacrifice the 400m hurdles finals after Thursday's run for the upcoming Asian Games.
The current leader of the Road to the finals with 24 points from three wins in as many events, Barshim was trying to better the Javier Sotomayor's world record in the Istvan Gyulai Memorial in Szekesfehervar, Hungary on Monday.
After winning with his world lead tying 2.40m clearance, he launched three attempts at 2.46m but off the the last one, the 27-year-old world champion twisted his ankle.
Though the details of his injury are still unavailable, his name from Thursday's high jump event list has been removed, suggesting that the three-time Diamond League winner has pulled out of the competition.
Barshim is not there but his compatriot and 400m hurdles marvel Samba will be seeking to extend his hot run on the circuit.
The 22-year-old Samba, who has clinched all the five runs in the 2018 Diamond League season so far with exciting finishes, clocked an incredible 46.98 to win the latest race in Paris, becoming the second fastest man in his event's history after world record holder Kevin Young.
He just fell short by two tenths of a second of the American's mark that he set in 1992 on his way to winning the Barcelona Olympic Games gold medal.
Sitting with the dazzling Diamond League trophy in front him during the press conference, Samba said, according to the IAAF website,"This will be my last Diamond League appearance of the season."
Given his red hot form, Samba would be a clear favourite in the finals, scheduled in Brussels on August 30.
The Asian Games in Jakarta are clashing with the Diamond League finals and Samba would be needed in Indonesia as Qatar's one of surest bets for the gold medals.
On Saturday, the Qatari erased Edwin Moses' 31-year-old record with a brilliant burst in Paris despite not having the best of the starts. Now, Samba, who has already smashed the Diamond League record four times and the Asian mark thrice, would be looking to beat another meet record by the American legend he took 47.14s to win in Lausanne 36 years ago (July 14, 1981).
With a traditionally fast track, a good weather and a strong line-up, the sixth DL 400m hurdles could be an exciting race to watch. World champion Karsten Warholm of Norway and silver medallist Yasmani Copello are among the runners who will be bidding to stop Samba tomorrow.
Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands, who finished second to Samba in Paris with this personal best 47.5, is another fast improving runner. TJ Holmes, fifth in the 2017 London worlds, also did his personal best in Paris while finishing fourth behind Warholm.
Samba promises to fix his Paris run errors and produce faster races in the future."I had made two mistakes in the beginning. I will try to fix what happed in Paris. I feel it will help me run faster."
Talking about his strategy for the acceleration in the final 100m, he said, he might change the plan one day."In the first 300m, I see how other guys are doing. Then I save my energy and in the last 100m, I step up the pace. Yeah...I'll try another race strategy some day."
Samba is also thrilled about the 2019 world championships in Doha and it would be nice if he could win with a world record."Yeah...I'm excited about the world championships in Doha next year. I'll be really excited if I can win with a world record in front of home fans."
By Raajiv Tripathi
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