Salwa Eid Naser en route to her dominant 400m victory at the Continental Cup (© Getty Images)
Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain was the expected winner for team Asia-Pacific in the women's 400m. The World Championships silver medallist, still only 20 years old, reached home in 49.32 to break the stadium record of 49.67, set by Tatana Kocembova way back in 1983.
Naser dominated the race, setting off at a fast pace and looked like the runaway winner by the time the runners entered the finishing straight. Caster Semenya closed the gap significantly in the final 50 metres, but was still well beaten into second. The South African, however, was rewarded for her effort with a new national record of 49.62.
Stephenie-Ann McPherson of Jamaica completed the individual podium, albeit well back, clocking 50.82. With none of the teams having two women finishing near the top, McPherson's performance, combined with Shakima Wimbley’s fifth place showing, was sufficient to give the Americas top points in the team competition. Wimbley's time of 51.59 was just 0.05 faster than that of the European champion Justyna Swiety-Ersetic in sixth. Had those positions been reversed, all four teams would have tied for first in this event!
Pawel Jackowski for the IAAF