Abdalelah Haroun takes the Continental Cup 400m title (© Getty Images)
Abdalelah Haroun finished powerfully to take the men’s 400m title here in 44.73.
Despite this being one of the most open of the Continental Cup events, Team Asia-Pacific put their men’s joker for the day on the race, and their judgement was rewarded thanks to victory for Qatar’s 21-year-old adopted Sudanese runner, and his team-mate Muhammed Anas Yahiya of India, who earned four points after finishing fifth in 45.72.
Haroun held off a final straight challenge from Team Africa’s continental champion Baboloki Thebe of Botswana, who has a best of 44.54 this season.
But any team hopes harboured by Africa disappeared halfway through the race when their second runner, Thapelo Phora, subsided to the track on the back straight clutching his leg.
Nathan Strother of the United States came through to earn third place in 45.28, but his Team Americas colleague Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic, who won London 2012 silver as a 19-year-old, could only manage sixth place in 45.81.
Britain’s European champion Matthew Hudson-Smith was his team’s top performer, finishing fourth in 45.72.
“It wasn’t my fastest time, but that didn’t matter here,” said Haroun. “I just wanted to win my last race of the season. I will rest now for three weeks, and then I must train again because a big year is ahead – I will be competing at home in the IAAF World Championships.”
Haroun also revealed an extra motivation for victory – “My mother said to me ‘this is your last race of the season, so don’t come home without winning.’”
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF