Biomechanical analysis of Abderrahman Samba's 46.98s at 400m hurdles

>> July 01, 2018

Abderrahman Samba of Qatar has gone sub 47s in the men's 400m hurdles to win the IAAF Diamond League in Paris yesterday (30 June 2018).

He became the second man in history to achieve the feat, which is also quicker than the 47.02s mark - the second-fastest 400m hurdles time ever that was recorded by track legend Edwin Moses of the USA. The former world record mark was set in 1983 at Koblenz, Germany. Interestingly, this mark was matched by an American youngster Rai Benjamin during the NCAA championships 3 weeks ago. Kevin Young of the USA holds the world record of 46.78s that he set en-route to winning the Olympic Gold in 1992.

This article observed the differences between the first three finishers. Therefore, it provides the most commonly used parameters of the low and high hurdles when it comes to coaching such as the time per interval, number of strides per interval, distribution of effort (first 200m and second 200m), time at 300m, and the time difference between the fastest and slowest interval.

Table 1. Split and interval times for first 3 finishers, marked yellow = leading performer

 Table 2. Number of intermediate hurdle steps

  • Abderahman Samba recorded his 6th sub 48s and first sub 47s in the 400m hurdles, after his first sub-48 run of 47.90A (at Potchefstroom, in April), then 47.57 (Doha, May), 47.48 (Rome, May), 47.60 (Oslo, Jun), and 47.41 (Stockholm, Jun).
  • Samba used a 13-stride rhythm into 14-stride-rhythm strategy (switched at the 7-8 interval) to better maintain his velocity during the last 100m,
  • Kyron McMaster started with 20 strides into the first hurdle, and used 12-stride rhythm (rare) in the 1-2 interval. Kevin Young (1.93m height) had 12-13 stride rhythm in the past. 
  • Karsten Warholm completed the 9-10 interval using a 15-stride rhythm, which was as a result of his 13 strides in the previous interval (not ideal, causing over-stride of the last step). It affected the tempo (and times!), he should have used 14 instead (in the 8-9).
  • Race distribution: the typical time difference between the first and second 200m is approximately 2.4s to 2.6s (for a good 400m hurdler). Samba' first 200m of 22.23s has produced a difference of 2.52s, which is ideal. The time difference for McMaster and Warhold were 3.22s and 3.26s, respectively (typically observed in women; but not ideal for men).
  • The times at 300m mark were 34.12s, 34.20s, and 34.28s (rather "similar") for Samba, McMaster, and Warholm, respectively.
  • The fastest-slowest interval for Samba, McMaster, and Warhold were 0.90s, 1.06s, and 1.32s. The ideal difference is ~0.9s (for men).

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100m 9.91 Su Bingtian CHN, Madrid
200m 20.16 Xie Zhenye CHN, Osaka
400m 44.07 Abdalelah Haroun QAT, London
800m 1:45.65 Jinson Johnson IND, Guwahati
1500m 3:34.55 Sadik Mikhou BRN, Paris
5000m 13:01.09 Birhanu Yemataw BRN, Lausanne
10000m 27:38.16 Hassan Chani BRN, Maia
Mar 2:06.11 Yuta Shitara JPN, Tokyo
3000 Sc 8:22.00 Kosei Yamaguchi JPN, Abashiri
110mh 13.36 Ahmad Al-Mouaed KSA, Praha
400mh 46.98 Abderrahman Samba QAT, Paris
HJ 2.40 Mutaz Barshim QAT, Doha
PV 5.71 Xue Changrui CHN, Shanghai
LJ 8.47A Wang Jianan CHN, Guiyang
TJ 17.22 Dong Bin CHN, Eugene OR
SP 20.24 Tejinder Singh IND, Patiala
DT 68.85 Ehsan Hadidi IRI, Chula Vista CA
HT 78.18 Dilshod Nazarov TJK, Chorzow
JT 87.43 Neeraj Chopra IND, Doha
Dec 7948 Keisuke Ushiro JPN, Gotzis
20kmW 1:17:26 Eiki Takahashi JPN, Kobe
50kmW 3:44:25 Hiroki Arai JPN, Taichang
4x100m 37.85 Japan Team JPN, Osaka
4x400m 3:04.05 India Team IND, Gold Coast
RED = World Leader




100m 10.99 Wei Yongli CHN, Resisprint
200m 22.73 Viktoriya Zyabkina KAZ, Almaty
400m 49.08 Salwa Eid Naser BRN, Monaco
800m 2:02.23 Manal Bahraoui BRN, Duffel
1500m 4:11.55 P.U Chitra IND, Guwahati
5000m 15:10.91 Rina Nabeshima JPN, Eugene OR
10000m 31:52.42 Mizuki Matsuda JPN, Yamaguchi
Mar 2:22.44 Mizuki Matsuda JPN, Osaka
3000 Sc 9:10.74 Winfred Yavi BRN, Monaco
100mh 13.08 Wu Shuijiao CHN, Shanghai
400mh 55.54 Aminat Odeyemi BRN, Goleniow
HJ 1.91 Nadzehda Dusanova UZB, Tashkent
PV 4.60 Li Ling CHN, London
LJ 6.64A Xu Xiaoling CHN, Guiyang
TJ 14.25 Olga Rypakova KAZ, Paris
SP 20.38A Gong Lijiao CHN, Guiyang
DT 67.03 Chen Yang CHN, Osterode
HT 75.02 Luo Na CHN, Halle
JT 67.69 Lu Huihui CHN, Halle
Hep 5898 Purnima Hembram IND, Guwahati
20kmW 1:26:28 Qieyang Shenjie CHN, La Coruna



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