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Shaunae wins the diamond again

Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo is now a three-time winner at the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) Diamond League Final, gliding to victory in the women’s 200 meters (m) at the AG Memorial Van Damme in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday.

It was her second straight Diamond League title in the women’s 200m, her third in the past two years covering the 200m and 400m, and third overall.

American Carmelita Jeter and Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce are the only other athletes to ever win three Diamond League titles over a two-year span.

Miller-Uibo opted for the 200m, as opposed to the 400m, at the two-day, two-city Diamond League Final this year, and her relative ease of victory at Brussels’ King Baudouin Stadium on Friday proved that it might have been the right choice. A total of 16 Diamond League events were contested on Thursday in Zürich, Switzerland, and the other 16 were decided on Friday in Brussels.

Flaunting the pink and purple hair again, Miller-Uibo got off to a respectable start and trailed just American Jenna Prandini and Dafne Schippers, of the Netherlands, coming off the curve. She powered past both of them on the home stretch, and pulled away in the final 50 meters.

Miller-Uibo won in 22.12 seconds, claiming the top prize of $50,000 and carting off the coveted Diamond trophy. Two-time World Champion Schippers finished second in 22.53 seconds, and Jamile Samuel, also of the Netherlands, finished third in 22.64 seconds.

Jamaican Shericka Jackson was fourth in 22.72 seconds, and early leader Prandini faded to fifth, finishing in 22.96 seconds.

With the victory, Miller-Uibo remained unbeaten in all of her events this year – a perfect 12-0. She is the undisputed world’s best over the women’s half-lap and one lap races, and plans to end her season at the IAAF Continental Cup which is set for this coming weekend in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Miller-Uibo is a member of the Americas team for the women’s 200m and the relays.

As for the Diamond League final, Miller-Uibo could have become the only athlete to ever win two individual titles in successive years, but with both the women’s 200 and 400m being held on the same day, and just an hour and 50 minutes apart, a decision was made to go with the shorter race.

The women’s 400m was easily won by Salwa Eid Naser, of Bahrain. She circled the track in 49.33 seconds. American World Champion Phyllis Francis was a distant second in 50.51 seconds, and fellow American Shakima Wimbley finished third in 50.77 seconds.

Naser won every Diamond League 400m race this season that Miller-Uibo didn’t. However, in her one encounter with Miller-Uibo, she came up short. Miller-Uibo won in Fontvieille, Monaco, in a meet record, national record, personal best and world-leading time of 48.97 seconds. Naser had to settle for second, finishing in an area record and personal best time of 49.08 seconds.

In Diamond League titles in the women’s 200m, Miller-Uibo now trails just American Allyson Felix. Felix has three, and Miller-Uibo now has two.

It’s been over a year since Miller-Uibo’s last defeat in the women’s 200m – falling to Schippers and Marie-Josée Ta Lou, of the Ivory Coast, at the 2017 World Championships in London, England. Schippers won her second straight world title in London, Ta Lou was second, and Miller-Uibo won the bronze. Miller-Uibo repaid both less than a month later, taking her first of two Diamond League titles, at the Weltklasse Zürich. She won the women’s 200m in a lifetime best of 21.88 seconds at that meet.

The only other Bahamian competing in Brussels on Friday, Donald Thomas, finished fifth in the men’s high jump.

Thomas had a best clearance of 2.29m (7’ 6”). Australian Brandon Starc, the Commonwealth Games champion, won the Diamond League title on Friday, clearing 2.33m (7’ 7-3/4”). He won based on number of knockdowns as second place finisher Mateusz Przybylko, of Germany, also cleared 2.33m.

Gianmarco Tamberi, of Italy, and Andriy Protsenko, of the Ukraine, both cleared 2.31m (7’ 6-3/4”). Tamberi won the bronze based on number of knockdowns, and Protsenko was fourth.

Thomas, who came into the competition with a season’s best clearance of 2.32m (7’ 7-1/4”), had to settle for fifth. He won the gold medal in the men’s high jump competition at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Barranquilla, Colombia, in July, and won bronze at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Championships in early August.

Competing a day earlier in the two-day, two-city Diamond League Final, in Zürich, was Bahamian Steven Gardiner in the men’s 400m.

Gardiner pulled up on the home stretch, citing a severe cramp on social media. He failed to finish the men’s 400m at the IAAF Diamond League Final for the second straight year, and now ends his season.

This year, the Bahamian double national record holder had a transformative year in track and field, running personal best national record times of 19.75 seconds in the 200m and 43.87 seconds in the 400m. He is one of just seven athletes to ever run under 20 seconds in the men’s 200m and under 44 seconds in the men’s 400m.

However, he has now come up short in each of the past two Diamond League Finals – slipping in the blocks in 2017, and now suffering a cramp on the home stretch in 2018.

A total of US$3.2 million was up for grabs at the two-day, two-city Diamond League Final this year.

Sheldon Longley

Sports Editor at The Nassau Guardian
Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.
Education: College of The Bahamas, Associates in Accounting
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