Samuel Francis of Qatar, Asia’s fastest man made the most of two false starts by his rivals to claim the gold in the 100m on day two of the 18th Arab Athletics Championships yesterday.
Two of Francis’ rivals were guilty of false starts but the 26-year-old Qatari sprinter remained calm to finish with a time of 10:31secs against a strong headwind at Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium.
Morroco’s Aziz Ahadi bagged the silver (10:38) while Oman’s Barakat Mubarak secured the bronze (10:45).
In the women’s 100m dash, Algeria’s Souheir Bouali surprised fans and herself by winning the gold with an impressive run.
Bouali clocked a time of 11:95secs while Dana Hussein of Iraq took home the silver medal with a time of 12:11.
Yamna Hajazi of Morocco (12:15) bagged the bronze medal.
Francis, running with shades, was delighted with his performance.
“There was a little pressure knowing that everyone wants to beat me. So all I needed to do was run with technique with speed and with power. It was nothing, just technique,” Francis said after the race.
“That’s what I have been doing in practice,” the Nigerian-born sprinter added.
Francis said the first false start was heaven sent as he wasn’t ready to make his trademark explosive start. “I wasn’t ready in the first one but I was ready for the second one and the third as well,” Francis said.
“In the final dash, I like I said I just executed my plans. I knew there was the wind and nobody could have run a fast time. I just ran,” he explained.
The Qatari sprinter who was the favourite for the 200m gold won’t be running at the event because of an injury.
“I won’t be taking part in the 200. I can’t turn in the 200 so I won’t be running here,” Francis said.
“I injured myself in the GCC Athletics Championships (held in Doha in April). For a while I will only be running straight (100m). The pain is behind my left knee so I can’t turn with ease,” he said.
When asked about his future plans, Francis said: “I will be running in Rome in two weeks’ time. Then I run the Asian Championships. I have been really working hard. Now I am winning. The time here wasn’t good, maybe. This was just my fifth competition this year. I have been training in California.”
Algerian sprinter Bouali said she was surprised to finish the race ahead of her ‘stronger’ rivals in the women’s 100m final. “I wasn’t expecting to win here. There were so many tough runners,” Bouali said.
“I am surprised that I did well. I have been working hard, no doubt about that. I am pleased that I have won the gold medal against a good field,” she added.
Also yesterday, Qatar bagged their third medal of the four-day championships when Asharf Al Saifi picked up a silver in the men’s hammer throw by reaching a distance of 73.17m.
Kuwait’s Ali Muhammed won the gold (74:28) while Egyptian Aladeen Al Oushari bagged the bronze (72:92). “I am happy to win this medal,” Qatar’s Al Saifi said. “I had won a gold in the GCC Championships. To follow that with a medal feels great,” he added.
“Though I would have loved a better show but finishing with a medal is not bad either,” the Qatari, who is training with a Russian coach, added.
On Tuesday, the first day of the championships, London Games star Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar won the gold in the men’s high jump. The championships continue today, the penultimate day of the event.
Source : Qatar Chronicle
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