World Youth Champion
Shaunae Miller has done it again! The lanky speed phenom cruised to another world title yesterday afternoon, topping a talented field in a new personal best and junior national record.
Miller won the Girls 400 meters (m) at the 7th International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Youth Championships in Lille, France, finishing in 51.84 seconds, to become The Bahamas’ first World Youth Champion and second medalist ever, in the history of the event. With her win in the World Junior Championships last year, Miller is also the only Bahamian to hold ever two world titles at the same time. Miller is also the first female to ever win both the World Junior and World Youth 400m titles.
That 400m final yesterday was billed as a showdown between World Junior Champion Miller and Jamaican world leader Chris Ann Gordon. Jamaican CARIFTA gold medalist Olivia James, who upset Gordon at CARIFTA in Montego Bay, was also figured to be in the running. However, the showdown which was in the making all year never materialized as Miller set an unbelievable pace from lane six. James, in lane seven, had no answer, and Gordon faded miserably.
Christian Brennan, of Canada, who had a tremendous start, ran a personal best of 52.12 seconds for the silver medal, and James finished in a personal best of 52.14 seconds for the bronze. Gordon, who still holds the world leading time of 51.62 seconds, finished a disappointing seventh yesterday, in 53.31 seconds.
“We are so very proud of her,” said Shaunae’s father and coach Shaun Miller from Lille, France, yesterday. “We had high expectations for her because she was one of the favorites and she went out there and executed. All credit must be given to her. We pretty much went over the race, about how we figured it would go, and she went out there and executed. We’re happy with the time and the result,” he added.
Shaunae wasn’t available for comment yesterday but her father Shaun said that she is very ecstatic, knowing what she accomplished for the country.
The match-up between Miller and the two Jamaicans was initially expected to come to fruition at this year’s CARIFTA Track and Field Championships in Montego Bay, Jamaica. However, Miller false started and was left out of the final. James and Gordon went on to finish first and second in times of 52.64 and 52.74 respectively. Even going into the final, it would be Gordon who would come in with the fastest qualifying time, 52.79 seconds, and head into the final with a favorable lane. Running out of the middle of the track, lane four, she had Miller and James ahead of her but couldn’t match the torrid pace set by the Bahamian National Champion.
Grand Bahamian Nivea Smith is the only other Bahamian to win a medal at the World Youth Championships, with a bronze in the Girls 200m in Ostrava, Czech Republic, in 2007.
Miller wasn’t the only Bahamian on the track at the World Youth Championships yesterday though.
Grand Bahamian Andre Wells finished sixth in the Boys 400m, in a respectable time of 47.22 seconds. American Arman Hall won the gold medal, in a world leading time of 46.01 seconds, Alphas Leken Kishoyian, from Kenya, secured the silver medal, in 46.58 seconds, and Patryk Dobek, from Poland, ran a personal best time of 46.67 seconds for the bronze medal.
Earlier in the day, Stephen Newbold qualified for the semi-final of the Boys 200m with the fastest preliminary time, 21.40 seconds. He will run out of lane four in the first of three semi-final heats today. Only the top two finishers plus the next two fastest times will qualify for Sunday’s final. Bahamian Anthony Adderley failed to qualify for the semi-finals, running a time of 22.64 seconds for fourth place in his heat.
In the Girls 200m, Carmiesha Cox qualified for the semi-finals with a preliminary time of 24.25 seconds. She finished second in her heat to Great Britain’s Desiree Henry, who ran a personal best time of 23.57 seconds. Cox will run out of lane three in the first of three semi-final heats today.
In the Boys 110m hurdles, Kirk Lewis finished eighth in his semi-final heat, in 14.52 seconds, and failed to qualify for the final.
Over in the field, twin brothers Latario and Lathone Collie-Minns easily qualified for today’s final. World leader Latario had the best qualifying leap, 15.61m (51’ 2-3/4”), while Lathone also won his preliminary group but had the seventh best jump overall, of 15.16m (49’ 9”). Latario’s world leading mark is 16.55m (54’ 3-3/4”), while Lathone has the third best jump of any Youth athlete in the Triple Jump this year, 15.73m (51’ 7-1/4”). Lathone and Latario will jump second and fifth respectively, in the field of 11 finalists today.
Also today in Lille, France, The Bahamas’ Girls Medley relay team will run out of lane four in heat one, and the Boys Medley relay team will run out of lane eight in heat two. In the girls relay, the top two finishers out of each heat plus the next two fastest times will qualify for the final, and in the boys relay, the winner of each heat plus the next four fastest times will qualify for the final.