World 400m hurdles silver medallist on his rivals Abderrahman Samba and Karsten Warholm, and how lockdown has been an “emotional rollercoaster”

US 400m hurdles star Rai Benjamin has backed Abderrahman Samba to return to world-beating form, saying that many have been too quick to write off his Qatari rival.

“In the midst of the conversation about me and Karsten Warholm, a lot of people forget about Samba,” says world silver medallist Benjamin in the Eugene edition of the Wanda Diamond League Call Room, which is due to air at 21:00 BST this Sunday (June 7).

“He was hurt last season so a lot of people have neglected him. But he would have been a huge challenge.

“He’s gonna bring it next season and so is Karsten. At that point I have no chance, I have to bring it too!”

While Samba struggled with injury in 2019, Benjamin narrowly missed out on the Diamond League title, despite running a jaw-dropping personal best of 46.98 in the final in Zurich.

Speaking of that narrow defeat to Norwegian rival Warholm, Benjamin said: “It was a crazy race. I remember every single step, every thought I had. That was the most I ever thought in a race. It was ridiculous.

“For me it was just like: how do you run 46 and lose?”

Speaking on the latest Call Room show, Benjamin also admits that the coronavirus lockdown has been an “emotional rollercoaster” in which he has struggled to keep himself motivated.

“I am frustrated because I was definitely prepared to run fast this year,” he says.

“Our fall training was really excellent. We did a lot to be ready to race this season, especially as it was an Olympic year.

“At first it was kind of depressing. You go to practice every day and you think: what am I working for? I struggled for a few weeks trying to find the motivation to do it.

“But hearing that the circuit could possibly come back has given me the motivation again. It’s been a rollercoaster ride of emotions.”


Catch the full interview with Benjamin by tuning in to watch the Eugene edition of the Wanda Diamond League Call Room below. The show will also include interviews with Christian Coleman and Shelby Houlihan, as well as highlights from a decade of the Eugene Diamond League.

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