Bahraini athlete Kemi Adekoya has left a trail of triumph as she etched her name in history, breaking the Asian record in the women’s 400 meters hurdles during the first-round heat at the World Athletics Championships 2023 in Budapest.
In a demonstration of her prowess, Kemi showcased exceptional skill and precision as she gracefully conquered the hurdles, securing a convincing lead over her competitors in the third race of the event’s opening stage.
The former 400m world indoor champion showcased her mettle with an impressive winning time of 53.56 seconds, marking a significant achievement that surpassed her previous personal best of 54.12 seconds, a record she set in 2015 and concurrently held as a Bahraini record.
Adekoya, aged 30, now boasts both the national and continental records. Her achievement reverberated beyond national boundaries as she shattered the Asian record of 53.96 seconds, previously jointly held by Chinese athletes Han Qing and Song Yinglan.
Remarkably, Han had set the record three decades ago in 1993, while Song clocked her achievement in 2001. Kemi’s remarkable feat secured her the second-fastest time among the first-round heats, with only Femke Bol of the Netherlands surpassing her with a time of 53.39 seconds in the fourth heat.
In her wake, Jamaica’s Andrenette Knight secured second place with a time of 54.21 seconds, followed by Ayomide Folorunso of Italy in third with 54.30 seconds and Cathelijn Peeters of the Netherlands in fourth place with 54.95 seconds.
Advancing to the semi-finals required finishing within the top four of each heat, along with the next four fastest athletes. Kemi’s remarkable journey continues as she prepares for the semi-finals, scheduled for 9:25 pm, featuring a field of 24 athletes.
Should Adekoya secure her spot in the final, the pinnacle of the competition awaits on Thursday.
Kemi Adekoya stands as one of Bahrain’s four contenders in the Hungarian capital. The contingent also includes Birhanu Balew, Winfred Yavi, and former world champion Rose Chelimo. The absence of former women’s 400m world champion Salwa Eid Naser due to injury and visa issues affecting Abdi Ali Gelelchu underscores the challenges faced by athletes.
As Kemi’s journey captivates the athletics world, anticipation builds for Winfred Yavi’s quest for a medal in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase heats. Additionally, Balew seeks to elevate his position in the men’s 10,000m standings when he takes on the men’s 5,000m heats on Thursday. Rose Chelimo is set to tackle the women’s marathon on Saturday, contributing to Bahrain’s formidable presence in the global championship.