Samba to lead Qatar’s challenge at Asian Championships

Doha, Qatar: The 23rd Asian Athletics Championships which starts on Sunday provides Qatar a chance to show its-state-of-the-art Khalifa International Stadium and its sustainable cooling technology to the world and at the same time it also serves as a test of organisational capabilities for the little country with big sporting goals.

The magnificent Khalifa Stadium, which is the first completed venue of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, will no doubt blow provide a perfect environment for the athletes to go higher, faster and stronger.

On the field too, Qatar have a host of stars that can dazzle the world, let alone Asia.

Even though world high jump champion and Olympic silver medallist Mutaz Essa Barshim announced that he was opting out of the championship to give himself more time to recover from his injury while Abdalelah Haroun suffered an unfortunate injury in training, Qatar still have stars who can light up the arena.

Abderrahman Samba sits on top that heap.

The Asian Games and Asian Indoor champion is moving from strength to strength and has made huge strides last season to be considered one of the best in his discipline.

Hammer thrower Ashraf El Seify is a potential star if he is not one already and the Asian Games gold medallist will be looking to continue his continental supremacy.

Meanwhile, China the Asian superpowers in athletics would be been to get back to the top of the medals table after relinquishing the position to India in the last edition of the championship which they hosted in the south-eastern city of Bhubaneshwar.

India bagged 29 medals including 12 gold to top the charts in 2017 while China were second with 20 medals, with eight of them being gold.

India can expect strong support from its huge expatriate population in Qatar and the likes of Hima Das will be ready to take full advantage of that.

Das, the 2018 Asian Games winner in the 4x400m and reigning world U20 champion in 400m is surely going to a big name in Indian athletics.

Around 700 athletes from 44 countries will be vying for honour in 21 events for both men and women and a mixed relay that makes its debut in the Asian athletics scene.

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