Fastest since 1985, Naser wins women’s world 400-meter gold


DOHA, Qatar (AP) – Faster than anyone else since 1985, Salwa Eid Naser stormed past Shaunae Miller-Uibo to win the women’s 400 meters at the world track championships Thursday.

Competing for Bahrain, Naser took the lead on the second turn and held off Olympic champion Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas to win in 48.14 seconds.

“Being world champion has settled down, but the time is still mind-blowing,” Naser said. “Hopefully, I sleep well tonight because it’s stuck here. I can’t stop thinking about it.”

That time was faster than anyone had run since Marita Koch of East Germany set the world record at 47.60. Koch’s world record was set in an era when her government routinely doped its top athletes with vast quantities of steroids. Koch never failed a drug test during her career and has said she has a clean conscience.

Naser was born in Nigeria as Ebelechukwu Agbapuonwu to a Nigerian mother and Bahrain father, but changed her name after moving to Bahrain.

Naser is competing in Doha while Bahrain is part of a regional diplomatic and economic boycott of Qatar that has been in place since 2017. Her success was down to “hard work, hard work, hard work,” she said.

Miller-Uibo had wanted to win a 400 and 200 double in Doha but leaves with a single silver after being unable to run the 200 due to scheduling difficulties. Her wait for world gold continues after winning 400 silver in 2015 and 200 bronze in 2017.

Shericka Jackson won bronze for Jamaica in 49.47. The top five runners all beat their personal best times.

Just 45 minutes after Miller-Uibo’s race, her husband, decathlete Maicel Uibo of Estonia, settled for another family silver after Germany’s Niklas Kaul dominated the final two events to pass him for gold. Kaul, the youngest decathlon world champion ever at 21, threw the javelin nearly seven meters better than anyone else.

Kaul, was third before the final event, the 1,500 meters. He beat Uibo by 15 seconds, to win gold with a points total of 8,691, 87 more than Uibo. Canada’s Damian Warner won bronze with 8,529.

After the last race, Miller-Uibo met her husband on the track and poured a bottle of water over his head to cool him down.

World record holder Kevin Mayer of France withdrew in tears in the eighth event, the pole vault, with injuries to his hamstring and Achilles tendon.

China’s Gong Lijiao defended her shot put title, while Jamaica’s surge in the field events continued with silver.

Gong threw 19.55 meters to beat Jamaican Danniel Thomas-Dodd’s 19.47. Thomas-Dodd hit the 20-meter tape with one shot but it was ruled a foul. Christina Schwanitz won bronze for Germany with 19.17.

Thomas-Dodd’s medal is Jamaica’s third in field events. That’s a new frontier for the traditional sprint power, which has only two medals on the track.

Six gold medals are up for grabs Friday night: men’s 400 meters, high jump, steeplechase, and 20-kilometer race walk; along with women’s discus and 400-meter hurdles, which features three potential American medalists.


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Salwa Eid Naser, of Bahrain, wins ahead of Shaunae Miller-Uibo, of Bahamas, in the women’s 400 meter final at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)