Salwa Eid Naser’s astonishing world 400m performance has blown apart the possibilities over one lap – The Telegraph

Posted: October 5, 2019 at 9:45 am


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It has long stood among the most daunting records in the book. When Marita Koch stopped the clock in the womens 400metres at 47.60sec, at a World Cup event in Canberra 34 years ago, all but one of her opponents had vanished from the TV picture. Jarmila Kratochvilova, the previous world record-holder from Czechoslovakia, was almost 3 seconds back down the track. That Koch produced such a time from an inside lane, and with less-than-textbook form, merely magnified the incredulity.

Kochs feat coincided with an era of rampant doping in her native East Germany, and her name later appeared in a letter in the Stasi files, protesting about a team-mate receiving a higher dose of Oral-Turinabol, the regimes go-to drug. But she never failed a drug test during her career and has insisted that she has a clear conscience.

Ever since that day, Kochs time has been a taunting throwback for her successors, a target that they can marvel at but not even dream of emulating. That is, until 21-year-old Salwa Eid Naser, born in Nigeria but now a naturalised Bahraini, streaked to a stunning 48.14sec here in Doha and blew the possibilities over one lap apart. The result, representing an improvement of almost a second on her personal best, was the most astonishing moment of these championships.

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Salwa Eid Naser's astonishing world 400m performance has blown apart the possibilities over one lap - The Telegraph

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October 5th, 2019 at 9:45 am