Series02 Nov 2015

Personal bests – Salwa Eid Naser


Bahrain's Salwa Eid Naser after winning the 400m (© Getty Images)

Salwa Eid Naser blitzed to a memorable gold medal for Bahrain in the girls' 400m at the IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015. Here the 17-year-old offers her take on some areas of her life both on and off the track.

My best achievement in athletics

My biggest achievement was definitely winning the world youth gold medal. It was not only about the medal but running a personal best time of 51.50. That was important to me. I was so emotional and so happy I almost shed a tear.

Another big moment for me was winning the 400m silver medal at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing. I went into that meet with a personal best of 54.50, so I did not expect to win a silver medal. Before the competition I think I was ranked 15th in the world, but I ran a PB of 53.95 in my heat and suddenly it gave me confidence and I felt a new energy. I knew after that performance I could contend for a medal in the final. I almost got the gold (in the final, Naser took silver in 52.74 – 0.24 behind gold medallist Jess Thornton of Australia) but my finish was not strong enough.

The best piece of coaching advice

My coach (Yanko Bratanov) always tells me ‘never give up, keep running’. When I cry in training because it is so tough, he tells me 'no pain, no gain’. He says, ‘If you want to be a champion, you have to train like a champion’.

My greatest rival

Lynna Irby, the girl from USA, who won the silver medal behind me at the World Youth Championships. I have become good friends with her and she seems a cool girl. Watching her shed tears of joy after winning silver was very emotional for me. We only met for the first time after the first-round heats (in Cali) but I gave her my congratulations after the final.

The best athlete I have ever seen

I have two athletes in mind. One is Rakia Al-Gassra (the 2006 Asian Games 200m champion). She was a great sprinter for Bahrain, who was able to achieve so much, reaching the semi-finals of the 2008 Olympic Games and 2009 World Championships. The other is Olympic 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross from the USA. I look up to her because she was so strong in the final when it counted at the London Olympics.

The best venue

The Nanjing Olympic Stadium, the venue I competed in at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games. The stadium and the track were so good. The track felt different and very nice.

My greatest Indulgence

I have an app called ‘Kim Kardashian: Hollywood’ which is like a game about being famous. I'm a fan of Kim Kardashian. She is a strong woman.

Steve Landells for the IAAF