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Salwa Eid Naser (née Ebelechukwu Agbapuonwu, born 23 May 1998) is a Nigerian-born Bahraini athlete sprinter who specialises in the 400 metres. She is the 2019 World Champion in the event with a personal best time of 48.14 seconds, thus becoming the first Asian woman to win the event at the World Championships. Her personal best places her third on the 400 metres all-time top list, behind only Marita Koch (47.60) and Jarmila Kratochvílová (47.99).[1] She was the gold medalist at the 2015 World Youth Championships in Athletics and the 2015 Military World Games and won the silver medal at the 2017 World Championships. She is the gold medalist of 2018 Asian Games, held in Jakarta, Indonesia with games record of 50.09 seconds.

Salwa Eid Naser
Salwa Eid Naser 2017.jpg
Personal information
NationalityBahrain
Born (1998-05-23) 23 May 1998 (age 21)
Anambra State, Nigeria
Height1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)
Weight54 kg (119 lb)
Sport
CountryBahrain
SportAthletics
Event(s)Sprinting
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)400 m: 48.14 AR (2019)

CareerEdit

Born Ebelechukwu Agbapuonwu in Anambra State, Nigeria, to Nigerian mother,[2][3] Salwa Eid Naser began running at age eleven while at school and began to focus on the longer 400 m distance. She was the 2013 Schools Champion in Port Harcourt. In 2014, she switched allegiance to Bahrain, converted to Islam,[4] and changed her name.[5] She was initially coached in Bahrain by Nigerian ex-pat John George Obeya. When asked about her transition to the new country, she expressed she was happy with the move and did not wish to dwell on her relationship with the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, saying: "I have nothing to say to the AFN".[6]

Based in Riffa in Bahrain's Central Governorate, she had her first success at the 2014 Arab Junior Athletics Championships, where she was the gold medallist in both the 200 metres and 400 m. Following this achievement, she began to take the sport more seriously and set a new best of 54.50 seconds at the Asian Trials for the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics. She steadily improved her best further at the Youth Olympics, recording 53.95 seconds in the first round before taking the silver medal behind Australia's Jessica Thornton with a much improved time of 52.74 seconds.[2]

Naser began working with former Bulgarian athlete Yanko Bratanov, who also coached fellow Nigerian-Bahraini athletes Kemi Adekoya and Samuel Francis (both later banned for doping)[7] [8]. At the start of 2015 she set national junior records of 11.70 seconds for the 100 metres and 23.03 seconds for the 200 m while in Bulgaria.[2] She confirmed herself as the continent's best runner in her age group with a gold medal at the 2015 Asian Youth Athletics Championships.[9] She then proved herself among the best globally at the 2015 World Youth Championships in Athletics. A patient run saw her overhaul the more favoured American Lynna Irby in the final stages of the race and she achieved a lifetime best of 51.50 seconds to take the gold medal. Running in a hijab, the final came on the day after Ramadan, which allowed her to eat normally before the race after having fasted during the qualifying rounds.[2] The gold medal made her the second Bahraini woman to win a global-level title, after senior world champion Maryam Yusuf Jamal.[10] Her tactical running was praised by decathlon world record holder Ashton Eaton, who invited her on an all expenses paid trip to train with him for three days.[11]

Naser took her first senior title at the 2015 Military World Games in October. Competing against 2012 Olympians Bianca Răzor and Nataliya Pyhyda, she improved further to win the 400 m title with a best of 51.39 seconds, becoming the youngest ever winner of that title.[12][13]

She won the silver medal at the 2017 World Championships with a personal best time of 50.04, being beaten only by Phyllis Francis, after winning the heats and the semi-finals, each time improving her personal best. Two years later, she became the World Champion in Doha, the youngest ever winner of that title in the 400 metres event. She improved her personal best, set one year earlier when she won the 400 metres race at the IAAF Continental Cup by 1.18 and her result, 48.14, has been the fastest since 1985 (when Marita Koch set the world record) and the second fastest at the World Championships (only behind Jarmila Kratochvílová who ran 47.99 in Helsinki 35 years earlier).

International competitionsEdit

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
2014 Arab Junior Championships Cairo, Egypt 1st 200 m 24.61
1st 400 m 55.72
Youth Olympic Games Nanjing, China 2nd 400 m 52.74
2015 Asian Youth Championships Doha, Qatar 1st 400 m 53.02
World Youth Championships Cali, Colombia 1st 400 m 51.50
Military World Games Mungyeong, South Korea 1st 400 m 51.39
2017 World Championships London, United Kingdom 2nd 400 m 50.06
2018 Asian Games Jakarta, Indonesia 1st 400 m 50.09
1st Mixed 4 × 400 metres relay 3:11.89
IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava, Czech Republic 1st 400 m 49.32
2019 World Championships Doha, Qatar 1st 400 m 48.14 WL, AR

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Senior Outdoor 400 Metres Women. IAAF (2019-10-05). Retrieved 2019-10-06.
  2. ^ a b c d Landells, Steve (21 July 2015). Naser takes a tip from George Michael and gets 400m gold in Cali. IAAF. Retrieved on 11 October 2015.
  3. ^ Gen 10: one-lap wonder Salwa Eid Naser. IAAF (2018-12-17). Retrieved 2019-10-04.
  4. ^ https://dailytimes.ng/ebele-agbapuonwu-becomes-salwa-naser-nigerian-athletes-dump-nigeria-droves/
  5. ^ https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/10/salwa-eid-naser-tale-two-countries-yemi-olus/
  6. ^ https://stargist.com/news/salwa-naser-is-glad-she-chose-bahrain-ahead-of-nigeria/
  7. ^ "IOC sanctions two athletes for failing anti-doping tests at Beijing 2008". International Olympic Committee. 24 January 2017. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Adekoya latest Bahrain runner to get doping ban". ESPN.com. 19 July 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  9. ^ 1st Youth Athletics Asian Championships Results. Asian Athletics Association. Retrieved on 13 May 2015.
  10. ^ Landells, Steve (18 July 2015). Girls' 400m – IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015. IAAF. Retrieved on 11 October 2015.
  11. ^ Eaton selects his five young stars for his Eugene camp. IAAF (6 August 2015). Retrieved on 11 October 2015.
  12. ^ Etchells, Daniel (7 October 2015). Russia claim hurdles double at World Military Games. Inside the Games. Retrieved on 11 October 2015.
  13. ^ Mills, Steven (8 October 2015). Mixed fortunes for world champions at World Military Games. IAAF. Retrieved on 11 October 2015.

External linksEdit