Shaunae back on Pan Am team
After a roller-coaster ride over the past two days, it appears that the best junior female quarter-miler in the world is back on the national team that will represent The Bahamas at the Jr. Pan American Championships this weekend.
Apparently, young Shaunae Miller was removed from the team less than 24 hours before it was scheduled to leave for the three-day event in Miramar, Florida. The team left yesterday afternoon, and according to sources, World Junior and World Youth Champion Miller is back on the squad and will depart sometime today. Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ (BAAA) President Mike Sands was unable for comment last night, but apparently confirmed the information late yesterday evening.
Young Shaunae Miller was informed by her coach and father Shawn Miller that her services would no longer be needed on Tuesday evening. That decision was apparently handed down by the executive board of the BAAA. The 17-year old double gold medalist at the world youth and world junior level was at the track training when her father initially broke the news.
“After they made the decision I went out to the track, she was still training and preparing with the relay members, I think,” said Shawn. “I went over and said Shaunae I have to see you. I told her that she can shut it down now because they just cut her off the team and that might be it for your season. She said yes sir and came over.
“I didn’t want her to cry so I left her alone. She held her head down for a little while and took it in. When we went home I briefed her as a father. I didn’t talk to her on the coach’s side because I didn’t want her to get involve too much. I want her to stay away from the politics side of it and let me do the fighting. I told her that it was just a decision made but she is old enough and she understands what is going on.”
According to Shawn Miller, he received a phone call around 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday from the BAAA Secretary asking him and his wife to attend a meeting with the association’s president Mike Sands. This meeting was set for 5:00 p.m. that day or shortly afterwards.
Miller said when he arrived at the meeting “a gang of persons was inside.” He said he still proceeded with the meeting, starting it off by saying that he felt insulted and disrespected for two reasons – one is not knowing why the meeting was called, and the other was the late request for his attendance.
During the course of the meeting the possibilities of Shaunae competing in more meets was brought up. He said: “No Mr. Sands. I have already answered you on that. She wil not be going to the Worlds, it is not an option for her. She is young and she is going to enjoy some of her summer with her friends. She is still available for the relays for Jr. Pan Am. Then he (Mr. Sands) brought up a little bit about CAC which I thought was a little low….. and that we cannot be setting this precedence and one thing after the next.
“When we got to the point of her being able to run the open 400 meters (m) I said no because she would have to go heats, semis and finals. I just wanted her to run the 4x100m and the 4x400m which is a total of six rounds. I told him that she would be available for all of those. More or less, what he ended up saying was that because she was only going for relay duties then no we don’t need her on the team and they cut her off the team. This was hours before the team left.”
Miller further explained that he and Sands had discussed Shaunae’s schedule earlier – that communications were sent via e-mail with him stating the intent. Miller continued: “I told him that we were aiming for the World Youth and after that, that we would be pretty much shutting down her season, but if you needed her for the relays, 4x100m and the 4x400m, she would be available. While in France I was asked about the possibility of her going to CAC, I told them no because I knew what that detailed.
“That would mean that she would come from France and go straight over. She would have gotten in late that night, jumping on a plane and head into Puerto Rico to do a next set of running again. I told them no and that I could not consider that. That it was too much for Shaunae.”
Just two weeks ago, Shaunae ran her way to gold medal at the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Youth Championships. Her winning time was 51.84 seconds, a new junior national record. Not only has this outstanding performance listed her among the best in the world but has qualified her for the 2012 Olympic Games. The ‘A’ standard is set at 51.50 seconds and the ‘B’ standard is at 52.30 seconds.
According to Shawn Miller, his daughter has been training from September of last year and a break is definitely needed.
“It all started off with Shaunae’s season,” he said. “She had a hard season this year. You know the season usually starts in September, around November or so she was experiencing a lot of injuries because of her growth period. We went though it and was able to get through it. Most of the doctors were saying during this season that we should just worry about development and not too much on major championships, but around February or so we decided to aim for the World Youth, as our major event to go at. I never intended for her to go to the World Games, that is the big stage, that is for her future.
“I don’t think that they ever bought a ticket for Shaunae. They just wanted to be spiteful and last minute. I am of the opinion that he decided that I would wait until the last minute. Give me a next reason why because there are other athletes on that team and it is going to look biased.”
The Nassau Guardian spoke to Sands who said he will reserve his comments and that a press statement will be issued on the matter.