Yesterday, we commenced our countdown of the World’s Top 12 Sprinters in 2018, where we featured Nos. 12 to 7. We bring the concluding part of the series by unveiling Nos. 6 to 1 on the list. Here goes:
- Christian Coleman
Some have called him ‘The next Usain Bolt’, but American sprinter Christian Coleman wants to create his own legacy on the track.
It’s no coincidence that the 22-year old is being seen as a successor to the multiple Olympic and World Champion, having announced his arrival to the world stage by stunning Bolt twice in the men’s 100m at the 2017 World Championships in London, ending the Jamaican’s winning streak over 45 races.
In an interview last year, Coleman said, “I don’t want to be the next Usain Bolt; I want to be Christian Coleman. In a few years from now, maybe have people saying, ‘Who’s going to be the next Christian Coleman?’”
The Georgia native opened his 2018 season with a bang at the Clemson Invitational in January where he shattered Maurice Greene’s World Record (WR) of 6.39s in the 60m, running an incredible time of 6.37s. However, the time wasn’t ratified due to lack of on-site drug testing and electronic starting blocks.
The youngster would not be denied though, and a month later, he legally smashed the 60m WR, replacing it with a superior mark of 6.34s to win the US Indoor Championships ahead of Ronnie Baker (6.40s).
At the World Indoors in Birmingham, Coleman struck his first GOLD medal at a global tournament when he clinched the 60m title with a Championship Record (CR) of 6.37s.
In May, he finished 2nd to rival Baker at the Prefontaine Classic, and a distant 4th at the Rome Diamond League. He then recorded a victory in Birmingham, and ended his season on a high, racing to the Diamond trophy in the 100m at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels where he clocked a World Lead (WL) and Personal Best (PB) of 9.79s.
- Michael Norman
He is only 21, but breaking records already seems to be the norm for Michael Norman who started setting records right from High School!
Norman came into global reckoning after winning the men’s 200m at the World U-20 Championships in Bydgoszcz in 2016 with a World U-20 Best, and another GOLD medal in the 4x100m.
While competing for the University of Southern California at the 2018 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships in March, Norman broke the Indoor WR and CR in the men’s 400m with a time of 44.52s, erasing Kerron Clement’s former mark of 44.57s set in 2005.
It was such a spectacular performance that five men ran faster than the winning time of 45.47s at the World Indoors in Birmingham, inspiring Akeem Bloomfield to a Jamaican Record of 44.86 in 2nd place.
Norman went on to add another GOLD in the 4x400m, which was a World Best, CR and MR! Although Zach Shinnick (46.24), Rai Benjamin (44.35), Ricky Morgan Jr. (45.67) and Norman (44.52) ran faster than the WR of 3:01.77 set by Poland barely a week before in Birmingham, their mark of 3:00.77 wasn’t ratified as a WR because of Benjamin who isn’t American.
Three months later, Norman replicated a similar feat the NCAA Outdoor Championships where he claimed the 400m title with a WL, CR and PB of 43.61s, also snatching another GOLD in the 4x400m with a CR and MR of 2:59.00. Norman’s time ranks him as the sixth fastest 400m runner in history!
It is therefore no surprise that the youngster, alongside Keturah Orji, was honoured with the prestigious Bowerman Award, which is the highest accolade given to the year’s best student-athlete in American Collegiate Track and Field.
- Sydney McLaughlin
Born and raised in an Athletic family, Sydney McLaughlin possesses a daunting resume, having already garnered a number of WRs to her name as a 19-year old.
She got her big break after setting a World Junior Record (WJR) of 54.15s to finish 3rd at the US Olympic Trials at 16, making her the youngest athlete to make the US team to the Olympics since 1980.
In January 2017, she joined Jenny Simpson, Emma Coburn and Brenda Martinez to break the indoor distance medley WR with a time of 10:40.31 at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix.
In March 2018, McLaughlin extended her exploits to the 400m, setting a WJR of 50.36s at the 2018 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships. Later that month, she stormed to a WL of 50.07s at the Florida Relays, smashing her Personal Best once more.
A month later, she opened her season in the 400m Hurdles by running a WJR of 53.60s at the National Relay Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas. In May, she broke the NCAA record and WJR in the 400m Hurdles, setting an astonishing time and WL of 52.75s to win the event in her first SEC Championship appearance as a freshman for the University of Kentucky.
She stormed to NCAA outdoor title in June where she clocked a time of 53.96s in the 400m Hurdles, and settled for Silver behind Kendall Ellis in the 400m.
Suffice to say, Mclaughlin was the fastest U20 athlete in the world in six different events in 2018: the indoor 200m (22.68s), outdoor 200m (22.39s), indoor 300m (36.12s), indoor 400m (50.36s), outdoor 400m (50.07s) and 400m hurdles (52.75s)!
She ended 2018 as No.1 in the women’s 400m Hurdles and No.7 in the women’s 400m on the world rankings. In October 2018, she turned professional, signing with the New Balance team. Following her exploits, Mclaughlin won the IAAF Female Rising Star Award of 2018.
The world has only seen a glimpse of Mclaughlin’s capabilities; the talented teenager certainly has more territories to conquer in 2019!
- Abderrahman Samba
A year ago, the name Abderrahman Samba did not ring a bell. This is not surprising, considering that the Qatari athlete only started competing in the hurdles seriously in 2017, which saw him finishing 7th in the men’s 400m Hurdles at the 2017 World Championships in London where he made his global debut.
A lot has since changed as the 23-year old is now a household name within Athletics circles, and is now being regarded as the man to break Kevin Young’s 26-year-old WR of 46.78s.
2018 was a defining year for Samba who was unbeaten over the distance in the year under review. In February, he competed in the Asian Indoor Athletics Championships where he won GOLD for Qatar in the 4x400m alongside teammates Mohamed Abbas, Mohamed El Nour and Abdalelah Haroun.
Samba maintained an unbeaten run in the IAAF Diamond League, starting with Doha where he clocked 47.57s, then Rome where he smashed Hadi Soua’an Al-Somaily’s 18-year-old Asian Record, clocking a time of 47.48s. He bettered his PB in Stockholm two weeks later, dominating the field in 47.41s, three days after winning in Oslo in 47.60s.
His biggest moment of 2018 came at the Paris DL where Samba made history, becoming the second fastest man in the event when he broke 47s with a lifetime best of 46.98s, making him only the second man to run inside 47s in the 400m Hurdles.
His final DL outing was in Lausanne where he won with 47.42s. Samba missed the DL final to concentrate on the Asian Games where he struck double GOLD, winning the 400m Hurdles in 47.66s, and the 4x400m with a time of 3:00.56.
He then capped his season with a fantastic run at the IAAF Continental Cup, winning his first global GOLD medal after crossing the line in 47.37s.
- Salwa Eid Naser
Bahraini sprinter Salwa Eid Naser occupies the No.2 spot on our Top 12 World Sprinters of 2018, having demonstrated that her Silver-winning feat in the women’s 400m at the 2017 World Championships in London was no fluke.
In 2018, Eid Naser rode the women’s 400m like a colossus, fending off the competition to win 10 of her 11 400m races. Incidentally, the only race she lost was her fastest of the season and an Asian Record at that. It was such a fantastic season for the youngster as she recorded seven sub-50s times. The last time any woman clocked that number of sub-50s in a season was Sanya Richards-Ross in 2009.
Competing in the DL, Eid Naser snatched victories in Rome (50.51s), Oslo (49.98s), Stockholm (49.84s), Paris (49.55s), and Lausanne (49.78s). The Monaco DL was a head-to-head encounter between the 2015 World U-18 Champion and 2016 Olympic Champion, Shaunae Miller-Uibo – the first time both athletes were meeting in 2018.
Everyone knew that something special was going to be served in Monaco, and Eid Naser pushed the Bahamian to her limits, which resulted in National Records (NR) for both. Miller-Uibo dipped inside 49s for the first time in her career, setting a Bahamian Record of 48.97s, while Eid Naser smashed the Asian Record with her stunning time of 49.08s.
Salwa proceeded to the Asian Games in Jakarta where she won three GOLD medals (400m, 4x100m and 4x400m), and a Silver in the mixed 4x400m. Less than 24 hours later, she was in Brussels for the DL final which she won with 49.33s.
Her last outing in 2018 was at the IAAF Continental Cup where she struck GOLD for the Asia-Pacific team in 49.32s to call it a season. Eid Naser is certainly one to watch out for in 2019!
- Shaunae Miller-Uibo
Bahamian sprinter Shaunae Miller-Uibo was in a class of her own in 2018, which deservedly earns her the No.1 spot on our list! The 24-year old was unbeaten across all events she competed in in 2018, and competed in the 400m only thrice in the course of the year.
The London 2017 200m Bronze medallist opened her season in February while competing at the NYRR Millrose Games where she equaled the World Best in the 300m, equalling Irina Privalova’s mark of 35.45s set 25 years ago.
Miller-Uibo opted for the 200m at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, storming to GOLD in 22.09s to finish ahead of Shericka Jackson and Dina Asher-Smith.
In the DL, she posted impressive performances while competing in the 200m in Shanghai (22.06s), Rabat (22.29s) and Birmingham (22.15s), earning victories in the process. Over the 400m, she raced in Eugene (49.52s), and then the Monaco DL, which was a showdown between Miller-Uibo and Bahraini sprinting sensation, Salwa Eid Naser.
Although her younger rival pushed her hard, Miller-Uibo was able to brush off the threat by running to a lifetime best, NR and WL of 48.97s, dipping inside 49s for the first time ever in her career. She returned to the shorter distance at the DL final in Brussels where she claimed her second consecutive DL Trophy in the 200m, clocking 22.12s.
At the IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava, Miller-Uibo proved to be an asset for Team Americas where she won three GOLD medals in the 200m, 4x100m and mixed 4x400m.
She was one of the finalists for the IAAF Female World Athlete of the Year (which was eventually won by Caterine Ibarguen), and was named the Female North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Athlete of the Year.