World Champs Women’s 400 — Naser Joins The Sub-49 Club

Favored Shaunae Miller-Uibo came up strongly on the outside, but couldn’t catch Salwa Eid Naser’s “new millennium World Record” of 48.14. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

THE RESULT surprised the world, not to mention winner Salwa Eid Naser herself and the favorite, Shaunae Miller-Uibo. By securing gold in 48.14, the fastest women’s 1-lapper recorded in 34 years, the 21-year-old Nigerian-born Bahraini representative took almost a second off her PR of 49.08 to go one better than the silver she had obtained at the ’17 WC and established herself as No. 3 on the all-time list (see sidebar).

Two years ago in London, Miller-Uibo, the Olympic champion, had stumbled to 4th late after appearing on the verge of victory. But here the favored Bahamian’s unbeaten record—and her almost nonchalant progression to the final as fastest qualifier—had reaffirmed her as strong favorite. Naser, who had already won a bronze in the mixed 4×4 (contributing a 49.2 leg), had impressed in the semis here with her smooth progress, clocking 49.79, but her taller and more powerful rival appeared to have more in hand with a 49.66. Not so. Even though SMU trimmed more than a half-second off her PR to record 48.37, it was only enough for silver.

“This is crazy,” said Naser. “I already did the mixed relay and I was just hoping for the best, but now I’m world champion. I’m really short of words to describe how I’m feeling, it’s just crazy. I’m screaming I’m so happy. It’s been so tough with all the training and injuries, and getting there has been hard. I didn’t want to chase because I’m so used to chasing all the time, so I had to go out fast, and I just kept going. To cross the line and see that I am world champion in that amazing time, I just couldn’t believe it.” Asked if she might now contemplate breaking the World Record, she responded: “Anything is possible.” (Continued below)

For a while after the race, as the slight figure of the ’17 silver medalist set off on a victory lap that few expected her to be making, the seemingly unbeatable Miller-Uibo sat, stunned, at the side of the track, a national flag draped around her. The super-fast nature of this final was underlined by the fact that the trio behind the 25-year-old Bahamian produced all-time bests. Shericka Jackson of Jamaica took bronze (49.47), Wadeline Jonathas of the U.S. was 4th (49.60) and her compatriot, defending champion Phyllis Francis, was 5th (49.61).

Miller-Uibo commented, “To run a time like that and not to win is incredible. I think I let her get away from me a little too much but I got a huge personal best so I have to be happy with that. She ran a crazy race.”

The pair’s halfway splits were approximately 23.0 and 23.5 and when Naser, two lanes inside Miller-Uibo in 5, moved up level to the Olympic champion around the crown of the top bend it looked as if she was making a bold move to vary the tactics and see if she could bring some pressure to bear upon the favorite. But as the field hit the straight— with Naser still well ahead by roughly a half-second at about 35-flat—it became increasingly clear that this was no bold goading, but an inexorable progress towards a first global gold. Miller-Uibo responded, closing the gap to around a couple of meters, but that was how it stayed.

There was another unexpected silver for the family collection as far as Miller-Uibo was concerned, as her Estonian husband Maicel Uibo finished as runner-up in the decathlon. “It was special to win a medal on the same night,” she said. “He had surgery in December last year and started back training in late February, early March, so to come away with a silver medal—I am really proud of him.”


WC WOMEN’S 400 RESULTS

FINAL

(October 03) (temperature 79F/26C; humidity 61%)

1. Salwa Eid Naser (Bhr) 48.14 NR (WL) (3, 3 W) (“new millennium WR”);

2. Shaunae Miller-Uibo (Bah) 48.37 NR (6, 10 W);

3. Shericka Jackson (Jam) 49.47 PR;

4. Wadeline Jonathas (US) 49.60 PR (AL) (9, x A);

5. Phyllis Francis (US) 49.61 PR (10, x A);

6. Stephenie Ann McPherson (Jam) 50.89;

7. Justyna Święty-Ersetic (Pol) 50.95;

8. Iga Baumgart-Witan (Pol) 51.29

Lanes: 2. Baumgart-Witan; 3. Jackson; 4. McPherson; 5. Naser; 6. Jonathas; 7. Miller-Uibo; 8. Francis; 9. Święty-Ersetic

Reaction times: 0.124 McPherson; 0.145 Miller-Uibo; 0.181 Jonathas; 0.184 Jackson; 0.186 Naser; 0.187 Baumgart-Witan; 0.197 Francis; 0.228 Święty-Ersetic

HEATS

(September 30)

I–1. Francis 50.77; 2. Sada Williams (Bar) 52.14; 3. Lada Vondrová (CzR) 52.23;

4. Anita Horvat (Slo) 52.73; 5. Cátia Azevedo (Por) 52.79; 6. Christine Botlogetswe (Bot) 53.27; 7. Hellen Syombua (Ken) 57.07;… dq—Ingrid Yahoska Narváez (Nic).

II–1. Jonathas 50.57; 2. Jackson 51.13; 3. Bendere Oboya (Aus) 51.21 PR; 4. Lisanne de Witte (Hol) 51.31; 5. Emily Diamond (GB) 51.66; 6. Patience George (Ngr) 51.77;

7. Eleni Artymata (Cyp) 51.90; 8. Alena Mamina (Rus) 52.15.

III–1. Shakima Wimbley (US) 51.17; 2. Baumgart-Witan 51.34; 3. Laviai Nielsen (GB) 51.52;

4. Tiffani da Silva (Bra) 51.96; 5. Aiyanna Stiverne (Can) 52.03; 6. Leni Shida (Uga) 52.22; 7. Maria Benedicta Chigbolu (Ita) 52.63; 8. Janet Richard (Mlt) 54.33 PR.

IV–1. Moroko Galefele (Bot) 50.59 PR; 2. McPherson 51.21; 3. Favour Ofili (Ngr) 51.51 PR; 4. Aliyah Abrams (Guy) 51.73; 5. Kendall Ellis (US) 51.82; 6. Roxana Gómez (Cub) 51.85;

7. Maggie Barrie (SL) 52.16; 8. Gabriella O’Grady (Aus) 54.99.

V–1. Miller-Uibo 51.30; 2. Deborah Sananes (Fra) 51.76; 3. Mary Moraa (Ken) 51.85;

4. Polina Miller (Rus) 51.96; 5. Anna Kiełbasińska (Pol) 52.25; 6. Anastasia Le-Roy (Jam) 52.26; 7. Iríni Vasilíou (Gre) 52.31; 8. Kenza Sosse (Qat) 66.76.

VI–1. Naser 50.74; 2. Święty-Ersetic 51.34; 3. Paola Morán (Mex) 51.58;

4. Kseniya Aksyonova (Rus) 51.99; 5. Maddy Price (Can) 52.24; 6. Anjali Devi (Ind) 52.33; 7. Amandine Brossier (Fra) 52.81; 8. Aishath Himna Hassan (MDV) 59.91.

SEMIS

(October 01)

I–1. Naser 49.79; 2. Francis 50.22; 3. Baumgart-Witan 51.02 PR;

4. Morán 51.08; 5. Abrams 51.71; 6. George 51.89; 7. Sananes 52.24; 8. Nielsen 52.94.

II–1. Miller-Uibo 49.66; 2. Jonathas 50.07 PR; 3. Jackson 50.10;

4. Williams 51.31 PR; 5. de Witte 51.41; 6. Gómez 51.56; 7. Oboya 51.58; 8. Vondrová 52.25.

III–1. McPherson 50.70; 2. Święty-Ersetic 50.96;

3. Ellis 51.58; 4. Diamond 51.62; 5. Moraa 52.11; 6. Ofili 52.58; 7. Wimbley 73.55 (injured);… dnf—Galefele. ◻︎

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