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Grand Bahamian relay team run world class time

Fans attending this year’s BTC Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) Jr. and Sr. National Track and Field Championships knew they were going to the Grand Bahama (GB) Sports Complex to witness some of the country’s elite athletes competing against each other, but they probably were not counting on seeing a world class relay time, particularly by a squad comprising only of Grand Bahamians.

That’s exactly what they got in the final race of the night, the 4×400 meters (m), as Grand Bahamian quarter-milers took on teams from Trinidad & Tobago and Haiti.

Grand Bahama’s quartet of LaToy Williams, Demetrius Pinder, Andrae Williams and Michael Matthieu not only dominated the race, but finished in a time of 3:02.56, a qualifying time for the World Championships. It was also the fastest time ran by a Bahamian quartet this year, surpassing the time of 3:02.79, that was done by Matthieu, Andrae Williams, Ramon Miller and Chris Brown, at the Penn Ralays this year.

“That was amazing,” said Alpheaus ‘Hawk’ Finlayson, a noted track and field historian, when Matthieu crossed the finish line on Saturday night, the last night of the championships.

LaToy Williams started the race and was able to stay stride for stride with the runner from Trinidad & Tobago as they headed for the first exchange. The runner from Haiti appeared to suffer a cramp on the first leg of the race, and consequently, the Haitian team didn’t finish.

As Williams handed the baton off to Demetrius Pinder, he had some work to do as the runner from Trinidad & Tobago held a slight lead. However, by the time they reached the 100m mark, Pinder began to pull away and got the baton to Andrae Williams ahead of the Trinidadian third leg runner.

Andrae Williams proved that he had recovered from a recent injury as he increased his speed as he headed into the back stretch, with the Trinidadian on his heels.

“I thank God for allowing me to be able to recover from my injury and get back out there on the track,” said Williams. “It hasn’t been easy over the past few months, but God has helped me to get through and it feels great to be back home running here on this track.”

By the time Matthieu got the baton, they were already sitting in a good position in terms of time. It was up to Matthieu to give them the kind of time they were looking for. Matthieu, who had just won the 200m about a half hour earlier, was impressive on the anchor leg, pulling away from the Trinidadian as they hit the 100m mark.

Grand Bahama fans went wild, as they realised that what was accomplished was done by all athletes from Grand Bahama, an indication of the level and quality of quarter-milers in the country.

Add to this line-up to other 400m runners like Chris Brown, Ramon Miller, Avard Moncur and one or two more, and The Bahamas has an arsenal of 400m runners that can vie for a gold medal at the World Championships and maybe even next year’s Olympic Games.

In the Women’s Open 4x400m relay, the team of Katrina Seymour, Rashan Brown, Dereka Kelly and Crystal Strachan finished in first place in a time of 3:48.81, ahead of the team made up of Ashley Johnson, Cheyenne Wilkinson, Ruddesha Strachan and Blair Johnson (4:01.75).

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