Salwa Eid Naser
Personal information
Birth nameEbelechukwu Agbapuonwu
Born (1998-05-23) 23 May 1998 (age 25)
Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria
Years active2014–present
Height1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)
SportTrack and field
Event(s)400 metres
Coached by
  • Jose Rubio (2017–),
  • John Obeya (2015–17)
Achievements and titles
World finals
  • 2017 London
  • 400 m,  Silver
  • 2019 Doha
  • 400 m,  Gold
  • 4x400 m mixed,  Bronze
Olympic finals
  • 2016 Rio de Janeiro
  • 400 m, 8th (sf)
Personal best(s)
Updated on 15 March 2021.

Salwa Eid Naser (née Ebelechukwu Agbapuonwu, born 23 May 1998[1]) is a Nigerian-born Bahraini sprinter who specialises in the 400 metres. She was the 2019 World champion with the third fastest time in history of 48.14 seconds, becoming the youngest-ever champion in the event and also the first woman representing an Asian nation to win that event at a World Championships. The mark places her only behind contested results of Marita Koch (47.60; 1985) and Jarmila Kratochvílová (47.99; 1983). Over the distance, at only 19, Naser was the 2017 World silver medallist. She has also won, as a member of Bahraini mixed-gender 4x400 m relay team, the 2019 World Championships bronze medal.

Eid Naser was in her signature event the 2014 Youth Olympic silver medallist and 2015 World Youth champion, before taking her first senior medal which was gold at the 2015 Military World Games. The then 18-year-old skipped the 2016 World U20 Championships, in which a winning time was 51.32 s, to compete directly with the world's best 400 m sprinters at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where she placed injured equal ninth in the semi-finals in 50.88 s. She is multiple medallist of Asian Games, Asian Championships, as well as other top-level military and pan-regional competitions, both individually and on relays. A two-time 400 m Diamond League champion, as of December 2022, she held the eight fastest Asian results of all time, nine marks in the top 10, and 18 in the top 20.[2]

On 30 June 2021, it was announced that Salwa Eid Naser had been banned until February 2023 due to three whereabouts failures. She was tested negative for doping 19 times between 12 April and 24 November 2019 (no publicly available data on her out-of competition tests before/after).[3] She was first provisionally suspended in June 2020 and then cleared by AIU Disciplinary Tribunal in October. CAS upheld appeal from WA (and WADA).[4] It was reported that one of three panel members was against the decision.[5]

Early life

Salwa Eid Naser was born Ebelechukwu Antoinette Agbapuonwu on 23 May 1998 in Onitsha, Anambra, to a Nigerian mother and (as it was reported) Bahraini born father.[6][7][8] Her mother had competed as a 100 m and 200 metres sprinter at school and she quickly discovered an ability to sprint. At age 11, in her first competitive race in school she won the 100 m, and then later also the 400 m. Her teacher insisted that she would make a good 400 m runner so she started to focus on the distance.[9] Before Naser was 14, the family moved to Bahrain.[1][10] In 2014, she switched allegiance to Bahrain, converted to Islam, and changed her name. When asked in 2017 about her move, she said, "past three years have been a great transition for me" and did not wish to comment on her relationship with the Athletics Federation of Nigeria. In 2019, she said she was happy that people in Nigeria were celebrating her win.[1][6][11]


2014–2016: World youth champion

2014 Youth Olympics
Silver medal – second place 400 m 52.74 PB SB
Bronze medal – third place 8 × 100 m mixed 1:43.60

Based in Riffa in Bahrain's Southern Governorate, Naser had her first success at the 2014 Arab Junior Championships, where she was a gold medallist in both the 200 m and 400 m. Following this achievement, she began to take the sport more seriously and set a new personal best of 54.50 seconds at the Asian Trials for the 2014 Youth Olympics. Naser steadily improved her best further at the Olympics, recording 53.95 s in the first round, before taking a silver medal behind Australia's Jessica Thornton with a much improved time of 52.74 s.[9] The sprinter then began working with former Bulgarian athlete Yanko Bratanov, who also coached fellow Nigerian-Bahraini athletes Kemi Adekoya and Samuel Francis (banned / disqualified for doping)[12][13] among others.[9]

2015 World Youth Championships
Gold medal – first place 400 m 51.50 WYL PB

In May 2015, she confirmed herself as the continent's best 400 m runner in her age group with a gold medal at the Asian Youth Championships.[14] In June while in Bulgaria, she set national junior records in the 100 m and 200 m, clocking 11.70 s and 23.03 s respectively.[9] Eid Naser then proved herself among the best globally in the 400 m at the World Youth Championships. A patient run in a tight hijab, what was her own decision, saw her overhaul the more favoured American Lynna Irby in the final stages of the race, and she achieved a lifetime best of 51.50 s to take the gold medal.[10] The final came on the day after Ramadan which allowed her to eat normally before the race, after having fasted during the qualifying rounds.[9] The gold medal made her the second ever Bahraini woman to win a global-level title, after senior world champion Maryam Yusuf Jamal.[15] Her tactical running was praised by USA's decathlon world record holder Ashton Eaton, who invited her on an all expenses paid trip to train with him for three days.[16]

Barely 17 years old, in October 2015, she took her first senior title at the Military World Games. Competing in the 400 m against 2012 Olympians Bianca Răzor and Nataliya Pyhyda, she improved to win a gold medal with a world youth-leading and national under-20 record time of 51.39 s, becoming the youngest ever winner of that title.[17][18] This result was the second-fastest Asian under-18—and 10th fastest world U18—time in history.[19]

Naser had since been coached by Nigerian ex-pat John George Obeya, who had been based in Bahrain for several years.[20][6]

At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the 18-year-old made her next progress and won her heat with a personal best of 51.06 s.[21] In the semi-final, she improved even further running 50.88 s, but placed equal ninth overall and did not advance by one place and 0.13 s; her time ranks her however sixth in the final results.[22] Just a week earlier, Naser twisted her ankle, which was first weakened when she was struck by a car aged six. It opened up a fracture and she was advised not to compete, but wanted to, in her first Olympics. After the Games, she had to take three months rest to treat her leg.[23]

2017–2019: World silver medallist and champion

At age 19, Eid Naser (third from the right in red) took silver in the 400 m at the 2017 World Championships in Athletics in London.
2017 World Championships
Silver medal – second place 400 m 50.06 NU20R NR

While still a junior, Salwa Eid Naser claimed the silver medal in the 400 m event at the 2017 London World Championships with a new personal best of 50.06 seconds, after winning and each time improving in her heat and semi-final, finally lowering her personal best by a massive 0.82 s.[24] The final took place on a wet surface during light rain. She was last midway through the race and when she turned for home she was still only fourth, eventually beating Allyson Felix by 0.02 and being beaten only by Phyllis Francis (photo finish). Shaunae Miller-Uibo had been leading until the last 30 metres when she got the staggers and dropped from first to fourth.[25] At age 19, it made Naser the youngest woman ever to reach the podium over 400 m at a World Championships; she also thrice broke the Bahraini national record.[20][6] Less than two weeks later, she won in the distance at the Diamond League meeting in Birmingham, and then set even better personal best of 49.88 s in Brussels a week later, securing second place overall in the Diamond Race.[6] This result, the third-fastest world under-20 time in history and an Asian U20 record, would have given her first place in London.[26][19]

Since November 2017, she has been coached by Dominican Jose Ludwig Rubio.[27][10]

In 2018, Naser competed at seven 400 m Diamond League events, winning six of them and achieving also six marks below 50 seconds. On 30 June, at the Paris Meeting, she won with a new lifetime best of 49.55 s, breaking an Asian record set in 1993 by Ma Yuqin with 49.81 s. On 20 July, at the Herculis meet in Monaco, she greatly improved her PB in a time of 49.08 s to finish second just behind Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who set the circuit record with her result 48.97.[23][28] It was the fastest women's 400 m race run since 2009, and also the first since 1996 in which two women went below 49.10 s.[29] In August, Naser won the race at the Asian Games in Jakarta. On 30 August, she also won the 4 x 100 m relay final and went on to take silver in the 4 x 400 m relay. She flew to Brussels later that night and won the Diamond League 400 m title just hours later in 49.33 s. A few days later, the sprinter won also Continental Cup held in Ostrava running 49.32 s. In 2018 in total, she won 10 out of her 11 400 m races and recorded seven sub-50-second clockings.[30]

During the 2019 Asian Championships in Doha, Qatar she claimed gold medals for both the 200 m and 400 m, and also for the 4 × 400 m relay, 4 × 400 m mixed relay and a bronze for the 4 × 100 m relay.[31] In the 2019 Diamond League events, she competed in and won five 400 m races taking her second circuit championship. The sprinter clocked her best time of 49.17 s setting a meet record, on 5 July at the Athletissima in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Salwa Eid Naser ran in the 400 m the third-fastest time in history at Doha 2019.
2019 World Championships
Gold medal – first place 400 m 48.14 SB WL AR
3rd all time
Bronze medal – third place 4 × 400 m mixed 3:11.82 AR
External, official videos
see Videos
video icon 2018 Interview: "I do dream big" (2m 57s)
video icon Undefeated Salwa Eid Naser cruises to a 400m victory in Zurich (2019) (1m 13s)
video icon Salwa Eid Naser Storms to 400m Gold – Doha Moments (1m 3s)

On 3 October 2019, Naser became the 400 metres world champion at the Doha World Championships in Qatar, the youngest ever, and also the first Asian female winner of that title. She improved her personal best, set one year earlier, by a massive 0.94 s, and her result of 48.14 seconds had been the fastest since 1985 – that is for 34 years (when Marita Koch set a world record of 47.60), the second-fastest at a World Championships (only behind Jarmila Kratochvílová who ran 47.99 in 1983), and the third-fastest of all time.[19][32] This had been her fifth race in five days and top five women all set PBs.[32][24] She additionally took the bronze medal for the 4 × 400 m mixed relay, which set an Asian record. During 2019 Military World Games, the sprinter finished as the gold medallist in her signature event extending her unbeaten streak in the event to 14 straight finals, and a bronze one in the 4 × 100 m relay.[33] Naser finished the 2019 season unbeaten.[1]

2020–present: controversial 2-year suspension

In June 2020, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced that Naser has been provisionally suspended for three whereabouts failures[34] over a 12-month period in the lead-up to Doha (1 filing failure, 2 missed tests) after fourth missed out-of-competition test in January 2020, sanctioned with a two-year period of ineligibility. She said, "I only missed three drug tests, which is normal. [...] It can happen to anybody."[35] She was tested negative for doping 19 times between 12 April and 24 November 2019.[36] In October, AIU Disciplinary Tribunal cleared[37] the sprinter dismissing one of those missed tests due to confusion relating to her exact location, and then her filing failure falling outside critical 12-month time frame backdated according to the rules to the start of 2019. Also in January 2020, when travelling overland after her plane was cancelled, she did not reach the Nigerian capital Abuja but only Lagos, Bahraini coach, her third-party in communication who handled her ADAMS database account, failed to update her whereabouts details sleeping.[38][39] In November, Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) informed that World Athletics and WADA filed an appeal.[40]

On 30 June 2021, CAS announced that Salwa Eid Naser had been banned until February 2023, missing the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 World Championships.[41][36]


She was recognized as one of the BBC's 100 women of 2019.[42]


Women's 400 m podium at the 2019 World Championships in Doha (L–R): Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Salwa Eid Naser and Shericka Jackson.
Naser's 48.14 seconds in 2019 in Doha had been the fastest since 1985 – that is for 34 years.

Information from World Athletics profile unless otherwise noted. Last updated on 15 March 2021.[43]

Personal bests

Event Time (s) Wind (m/s) Venue Date Notes
100 metres 11.24 +1.3 Salamanca, Spain 8 June 2019
200 metres 22.51 +1.9 Palo Alto, CA, United States 30 June 2019 NR
400 metres 48.14 Doha, Qatar 3 October 2019 WL Asian record, 3rd all time[19]
Lap times of 48.14 seconds PB run  
Lap Time diff to prior / 1st / best lap
0–100 m 12.1
100–200 11.1
200–300 11.9
+7% / -2%
300–400 13.1
+10% / +8% / +18%

Season's best

Year 400 m +/- % Notes
2014 52.74 Positive decrease PB
2015 51.39 Positive decrease 1.35 2.6 WYL NU20R, 2nd Asia U18 all time, 10th U18 all time[19][note 2]
2016 50.88 Positive decrease 0.51 1.0 NU20R[note 3]
2017 49.88 Positive decrease 1.00 2.0 NU20R AU20R NR, 3rd U20 all time[30][19][note 4]
2018 49.08 Positive decrease 0.80 1.6 AR
2019 48.14 Positive decrease 0.94 1.9 WL AR, 3rd all time[19][note 5]
Graphs are temporarily unavailable due to technical issues.

International individual competitions

Year Competition Venue Position Event Time Notes
Representing  Bahrain
2014 Arab Junior Championships Cairo, Egypt 1st 200 m 24.61
1st 400 m 55.72
Youth Olympic Games Nanjing, China 2nd 400 m 52.74 SB PB
2015 Asian Youth Championships Doha, Qatar 1st 400 m 53.02
World Youth Championships Cali, Colombia 1st 400 m 51.50 PB
2015 Military World Games Mungyeong, South Korea 1st 400 m 51.39 WYL SB NU20R[17]
2016 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 8th (sf) 400 m 50.88 SB NU20R[30][note 6]
2017 Islamic Solidarity Games Baku, Azerbaijan 1st 400 m 51.33 GR
World Championships London, United Kingdom 2nd 400 m 50.06 NU20R NR[30]
2018 Asian Games Jakarta, Indonesia 1st 400 m 50.09 GR
Continental Cup Ostrava, Czech Republic 1st 400 m 49.32 [note 7]
2019 Arab Championships Cairo, Egypt 1st 200 m 23.45
1st 400 m 52.72
Asian Championships Doha, Qatar 1st 200 m 22.74 PB CR
1st 400 m 51.34
World Championships Doha, Qatar 1st 400 m 48.14 WL SB AR, 3rd all time
Military World Games Wuhan, China DQ (h) 200 m DQ
1st 400 m 50.15 GR

International relay competitions

Year Competition Venue Position Event Time Notes
Representing International Olympic Committee Mixed-NOCs
2014 Youth Olympic Games Nanjing, China 3rd 8 × 100 m mixed 1:43.60
Representing  Bahrain
2015 Asian Youth Championships Doha, Qatar 3rd Medley relay 2:19.04
2015 Military World Games Mungyeong, South Korea 3rd 4 × 400 m relay 3:32.62 NR
2016 Asian Indoor Championships Doha, Qatar 1st 4 × 400 m relay 3:35.07 AR
2017 Islamic Solidarity Games Baku, Azerbaijan 1st 4 × 100 m relay 44.98 GR NR
1st 4 × 400 m relay 3:32.96 GR
2018 Asian Games Jakarta, Indonesia 1st 4 × 100 m relay 42.73 GR
2nd 4 × 400 m relay 3:30.61
– (f) 4 × 400 m mixed DQ
2019 Arab Championships Cairo, Egypt 1st 4 × 100 m relay 45.18
Asian Championships Doha, Qatar 3rd 4 × 100 m relay 43.61
1st 4 × 400 m relay 3:32.10
1st 4 × 400 m mixed 3:15.75
World Championships Doha, Qatar 3rd 4 × 400 m mixed 3:11.82 AR
Military World Games Wuhan, China 3rd 4 × 100 m relay 44.24

Circuit wins and titles

See also


  1. ^ Griffith-Joyner's 100m WR mark probably strong wind assisted; 2nd all-time best of Elaine Thompson-Herah: 10.54 s[19]
  2. ^ 1.38 s to 50.01 world under-18 best of Li Jing (1997)[19]
  3. ^ Injury condition[23]
  4. ^ 0.07 s to 49.81 Asian senior record of Ma Yuqin (1993); 0.46 s to 49.42 world under 20-record of Grit Breuer (1991)[19]
  5. ^ 0.54 s to 47.60 world record of Marita Koch (1985)[19]
  6. ^ Naser lost the final qualification by one place – 0.13 s. However, the time ranks her sixth in the final results.[22]
  7. ^ Representing Asia-Pacific.


  1. ^ a b c d "World champion Salwa Eid Naser ready to 'go for the world record'". Olympic Channel. 21 November 2019. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  2. ^ "All time Top lists – 400 m Women – Senior Outdoor – Asia | until 2022-12-01". World Athletics. Retrieved 1 December 2022. Change filters for other age / territorial / time range. Choose 'Best by athlete' or 'All' to see listings with athletes lifetime bests only or all historical results, respectively
  3. ^ "01 July 2021 – Athletics Integrity Unit Press Release" (PDF). Athletics Integrity Unit. 1 July 2021. p. 1. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  4. ^ "World champion sprinter Naser gets 2-year doping ban". Associated Press. 30 June 2021. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  5. ^ Parchment, Rachid (3 July 2021). "'What was the motivation?'". The Gleaner. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e Olus, Yemi (28 October 2017). "Salwa Eid Naser and a Tale of Two Countries". Vanguard News Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  7. ^ O'Riordan, Ian (10 August 2017). "Athlete nationality issue hasn't been lost in London". The Irish Times. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  8. ^ Efe, Ben (23 June 2020). "Athletics: Igboka backs Eid Naser to beat dope ban". Vanguard News Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d e Landells, Steve (21 July 2015). Naser takes a tip from George Michael and gets 400m gold in Cali. IAAF. Retrieved on 11 October 2015.
  10. ^ a b c Pérez, Ismael (22 June 2019). "Salwa Eid Naser: "Quiero el récord del mundo de 400m. Si un humano lo hizo, se puede hacer"". Runner's World (in Spanish). Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  11. ^ "Ebele Agbapuonwu becomes Salwa Naser – Nigerian athletes dump Nigeria in droves". Daily Times Nigeria 11 August 2017. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  12. ^ "Adekoya latest Bahrain runner to get doping ban". 19 July 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  13. ^ "IOC sanctions two athletes for failing anti-doping tests at Beijing 2008". International Olympic Committee. 24 January 2017. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  14. ^ 1st Youth Athletics Asian Championships Results. Asian Athletics Association. Retrieved on 13 May 2015.
  15. ^ Landells, Steve (18 July 2015). Girls' 400m – IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015. IAAF. Retrieved on 11 October 2015.
  16. ^ Eaton selects his five young stars for his Eugene camp. IAAF (6 August 2015). Retrieved on 11 October 2015.
  17. ^ a b Etchells, Daniel (7 October 2015). Russia claim hurdles double at World Military Games. Inside the Games. Retrieved on 11 October 2015.
  18. ^ Mills, Steven (8 October 2015). Mixed fortunes for world champions at World Military Games. IAAF. Retrieved on 11 October 2015.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "All time Top lists – 400 m Women – Senior Outdoor | until 2020-12-31". World Athletics. Retrieved 1 January 2021. Change filters for other age / territorial / time range
  20. ^ a b Dennehy, Cathal (10 August 2017). "Having beaten her heroes, Naser lives her teenage dreams". World Athletics Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  21. ^ "Rio 2016 women 400m heats". World Athletics 13 August 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  22. ^ a b "Rio 2016 – Women's 400m – Standings". Rio 2016 website. IOC. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  23. ^ a b c Landells, Steve (19 September 2018). "High and low – Salwa Eid Naser". World Athletics. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  24. ^ a b Smythe, Steve (3 October 2019). "Salwa Eid Naser stuns Shaunae Miller-Uibo in world 400m". AW. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  25. ^ Johnson, Len (4 October 2019). "Naser vs Miller-Uibo race latest in long line of 400m upsets". World Athletics. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  26. ^ "Results − 400 Metres Women − Final" (PDF). IAAF. 9 August 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  27. ^ huaxia, ed. (2 September 2018). "Mixed feelings about naturalized athletes flourishing at Asiad". Xinhua | Archived from the original on 4 September 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  28. ^ ""400m Results"" (PDF). 20 July 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  29. ^ Rowbottom, Mike. "Miller-Uibo goes sub-49 to win 400m in Monaco – IAAF Diamond League". World Athletics. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  30. ^ a b c d Gen 10: one-lap wonder Salwa Eid Naser. IAAF (17 December 2018). Retrieved 2019-10-04.
  31. ^ Ramsak, Bob (24 April 2019). "Naser completes 200m/400m double as Asian Championships conclude in Doha". World Athletics. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  32. ^ a b c Brown, Oliver (4 October 2019). "Salwa Eid Naser's astonishing world 400m performance has blown apart the possibilities over one lap". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  33. ^ "Naser, Lasitskene and Romani capture Military World Games titles in Wuhan". World Athletics. 23 October 2019. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  34. ^ "Whereabouts Failures". Athletics Integrity Unit. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  35. ^ Ingle, Sean (7 June 2020). "AIU says Salwa Eid Naser missed three drug tests before world 400m title win". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  36. ^ a b "Salwa Eid Naser, world 400m champion, to miss Olympics with ban". NBC Sports. 1 July 2021. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  37. ^ "SR/137/2020 – Decision of the Disciplinary Tribunal" (PDF). Athletics Integrity Unit. 14 October 2020. p. 14. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  38. ^ Pérez, Ismael (20 October 2020). "World Athletics levanta la sanción a la campeona mundial de 400m Salwa Eid Naser". Runner's World (in Spanish). Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  39. ^ "Salwa Eid Naser escapes ban on technicality". Athletics Weekly. 20 October 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  40. ^ Levy, Leighton (4 March 2021). "April dates set for CAS to hear appeals against Salwa Eid Naser exoneration". Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  41. ^ "Media Release; Athletics – Anti-doping" (PDF). CAS. 30 June 2021. p. 1. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  42. ^ "BBC 100 Women 2019: Who is on the list this year?". BBC News. 15 October 2019. Retrieved 17 December 2022.
  43. ^ "Salwa Eid NASER – Athlete Profile". World Athletics. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  44. ^ "IAAF Diamond League Final – Diamond League Champions – 30th – 31st August 2018" (PDF). Diamond League. 31 August 2018. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  45. ^ "IAAF Diamond League Final – Diamond League Champions – 5th – 6th September 2019" (PDF). Diamond League. 6 September 2019. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  46. ^ "400 Metres Result | IWC Zagreb 2018". World Athletics. Retrieved 20 March 2021.


Records Preceded byMa Yuqin Women's 400 m Asian record holder 30 June 2018 – present Succeeded byIncumbent