Barakat becomes first Omani to break ten-second barrier
Ace sprinter Barakat al Harthi became the first-ever Omani to break the ten-second barrier on Monday when the 30 year old clocked a time of 9.97 seconds to claim gold in the 100m at the third West Asian Athletics Championships in Amman, Jordan.
Bahrain’s Jamaica-born Andrew Fisher took silver in 10.24s while Bahrain’s Saeed al Khaldi bagged bronze in a time of 10.49s.
The record timing set by Barakat also broke his existing Oman record of 10.05s set in the Bulgarian town of Stara Zagaro in June 2016. Barakat now joins an exclusive club of Asian athletes who have shattered the ten-second barrier, often considered a benchmark for top-class sprinter.
Barakat is only the third athlete from the region to have achieved the record and only the sixth Asian to have done it.
Qatar’s Samuel Francis was the first Asian to have accomplished it in July, 2007 with a time of 9.99s.
Seven years later, another Qatari sprinter, Femi Ogunode, clocked 9.93s followed by 9.91s in 2015.
China’s Su Bingtain (9.91s) and Xie Zhenye (9.97s), Japan’s Yoshihide Kiryu (9.98s) are the other athletes to have gone below ten-second. Fisher, who became a Bahraini citizen in 2015, had achieved his personal best of 9.94s while representing Jamaica.
A total of 133 athletes from across the world have achieved the mark (timed electronically), first achieved by American Jim Hines on October 1968 with a time of 9.95s.
In his exclusive remarks to Muscat Daily from Amman on Tuesday, Barakat said, “I am very happy to have achieved the record. I thank God, my family, friends and national association for helping me achieve it.
“I had a very good start and an equally good finish. To break the ten-second barrier has been a long dream for me and I am relieved to have accomplished it.
“My preparations for this championship was very good over the past few months. I had a long training camp in Turkey under coach Ozkan Kaya. I was focused for this event and even skipped Eid celebrations at home.”
The Ibra native said he believed in himself to go below ten-second mark and is confident of a good show at the forthcoming Asian Games in Jakarta.
“I may race in one more competition before the Asian Games and I am hopeful of bettering my 2010 achievement,” said Barakat.
The Omani had won a bronze in the 100m at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China with a time of 10.28s.
Having participated in the 2012 Olympic Games and competed at three World Athletics Championships, Barakat has won the gold at the Military World Games in 2015, a gold at the Asian Beach Games in 2016 and a silver in the Pan Arab Games in 2011. “I am proud to fly Oman’s flag high and my efforts will be to win gold in the competitions ahead and also clock sub ten-second times,” said Barakat.
At the West Asian Athletics Championships, Barakat was accompanied by coach Mohammed al Hooti and Hamood al Dalhami.
Besides Barakat’s gold, Othman al Busadi won a bronze in the 400m in a time of 47.87s and Fatik Abdul Ghafoor bagged a silver in high jump (2.07m).