World Athletics and the entire track and field fraternity is deeply saddened to hear that Qatari sprinter Abdalelah Haroun, who won world 400m bronze in 2017, died on Saturday (26) at the age of 24.
The sad news was shared by the Qatar Olympic Committee on social media, with reports that Haroun passed away in a car crash.
The national record-holder with his best of 44.07 run in 2018, Haroun made his big breakthrough in 2015 when he won the Asian 400m title at the age of 18 and set an Asian U20 record of 44.27.
The following year he won the Asian indoor title before claiming his first global medal at the World Indoor Championships in Portland, where he secured silver.
He went to the World U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz as favourite for gold, which he achieved in a time of 44.81, and made his Olympic debut in Rio the following month, reaching the semifinals.
Back on the major stage in 2017, the then 20-year-old Haroun became the first Asian world 400m medallist as he finished fast to claim bronze behind Wayde van Niekerk and Steven Gardiner in London. “It is a very special moment for my country,” he said at the time, “and an honour to take the bronze medal with me.”
A torn hip tendon hampered his preparations for the 2019 World Athletics Championships on home soil in Doha, where he raced in the heats.
The eldest of five siblings, Haroun was born in Sudan, where he first enjoyed boxing and football. His sprinting potential was spotted by a teacher and aged 16, in his first ever 400m race, he ran 49 seconds.
Having an uncle living in Qatar, Haroun was advised by a coach to run for the Arabian country and he gained eligibility to represent the nation in 2015.