‘I’m glad I dumped Nigeria for Bahrain’. This Nigerian-born girl won silver in World Athletics.

Salwa Naser, a 400m silver medalist at the ongoing World Athletics championship in London, says she is happy to have chosen Bahrain ahead of Nigeria.

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The 19-year-old achieved her dreams on Thursday by setting a new national record to win both her heat in 50.57 seconds and the semi-final in 50.08 seconds.

After the race, Naser was asked if she had any message for the new board of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria, and she said, “I don’t really have anything to say to them.

“The past three years have been a great transition for me and I’m glad. I have nothing to say to the AFN.”

Naser, who is coached by Bahrain-based Nigerian John George Obeya, said she wasn’t bothered by the pedigree of her opponents ahead of the race.

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The athlete said she was simply interested in winning.

“No, I wasn’t. But I was training hard and hoping for the best. Coming here I really hoped to do something,” she told iaaf.org.

“I feel so happy. It wasn’t about beating Allyson Felix. It was about getting a personal best and a medal.

“I just had to push through and try. I didn’t see anyone in front of me so I didn’t know what position I was at until the results came through.”

 

Early Life of Naser

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Born in Nigeria to Nigerian parents, Salwa Eid Naser (previously known as Ebelechukwu Agbapuonwu in Nigeria) moved and naturalised to Bahrain in 2014.

She began running at age eleven while at school and began to focus on the longer 400 m distance. 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.

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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.

 

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