In a heart-stopping moment, Yousef Ahmed M Masrahi triumphed over a formidable field of competitors in the 400m final at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Stadium on September 30, successfully clinching Saudi Arabia’s maiden gold medal at the Asian Games.
The Masrahi Effect
Masrahi initially appeared to be in a disadvantageous position in the first 100 meters of the race; however, he persevered, quickened his pace, and soon found himself in the lead alongside Japanese competitors Kentaro Sato, Fuga Sato, and Bahraini Abbas Yusuf Abbas Ali.
It was a nail-biting battle between the top four sprinters, all of whom wanted to bring home the gold for their country, but perhaps even more so for Masrahi, whose country has yet to win an Asiad gold medal.
With only a few meters to run, Masrahi put up a good fight and unleashed his finishing kick to win the race in a time of 45.55 seconds. Kentaro Sato also pushed through and finished second in the race with a time of 45.57 seconds, while Abbas Yusuf Abbas Ali came in third with a time of 45.65.
Upon placing first in the competition and bagging his country’s first gold medal, Masrahi wept in celebration at the stadium. Congratulations also started pouring in for the Arab sprinter on X, including the official account of the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 who said, “ Congratulations to Masrahi Yousef Ahmed M for winning the first gold medal of Team Saudi Arabia at Hangzhou Asian Games. Masrahi Yousef Ahmed M took the lead in Athletics, Men’s 400m event with a result of 45.55.”
Congratulations to Masrahi Yousef Ahmed M for winning the first gold medal of Team Saudi Arabia at Hangzhou Asian Games.
— 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 Official (@19thAGofficial) September 30, 2023
As of October 2, Saudi Arabia is now in the 23rd spot on the Asiad medal table, with 1 gold medal, 1 silver medal, and 1 bronze medal.
1. MASRAHI Yousef Ahmed M (Saudi Arabia)- 45.55
2. SATO Kentaro (Japan)- 45.57
3. ALI Abbas Yusuf Abbas (Bahrain)- 45.65
4. SATO Fuga (Japan)- 45.70
5. VARIYATHODI Muhammed Ajmal (India)- 45.97
6. SINGHAPURAGE Aruna Dharshana (Sri Lanka)- 46.09
7. HEWA KUMARAGE Kalinga Kumarage (Sri Lanka)- 46.22
8. ABAKAR Ismail (Qatar)- 46.48
Masrahi is the current Asian record holder for the 400-meter sprint. He set the record of 43.93 seconds at the 400-m qualifying heats of the 2015 Beijing World Championships. Unfortunately, he was provisionally banned from competing for four years in 2016 after testing positive for drugs.
And after nine years of being out of the spotlight, Masrahi finally claimed another gold medal for his country. According to CGTN, he engaged with his Chinese admirers in the stands and took a selfie with their phones while yelling, “I love China!“.
“I really, really wanna say that from the middle of my heart, I love China,” Masrahi said.
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The photo above is from a Screenshot from Twitter