The Bahamas’ men’s 4×400 meters (m) relay team got in some much needed action this past weekend, competing at the 125th running of the prestigious Penn Relays at historic Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The quartet of Ojay Ferguson, Teray Smith, Andre Colebrook and Alonzo Russell, in that order, ran a time of 3:05.58 for third, trailing the USA Red team and Canada. It was the third straight top three finish for The Bahamas in the USA vs. the World Men’s 4x400m relay event, and The Bahamas hasn’t won since the ‘Golden Knights’ led them to victory in 2014.
Russell ran a sensational anchor leg to bring The Bahamas from sixth to third, turning in the fastest split in the field. He was the only athlete to run a sub-45 second split, running 44.89 seconds on his anchor leg. USA Red won in 3:02.70, Canada finished second in 3:04.54, and The Bahamas came back for third.
Ferguson struggled on the lead-off leg, running just 48.1, and The Bahamas settled into sixth where they remained for most of the race. Smith turned in a split of 46.3, and Colebrook followed with a split of 46.29. Russell brought it home in 44.89.
The race also serves as a tune-up for The Bahamas for next month’s International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Relays, set for May 11-12, in Yokohama, Japan. It will be the fourth edition of the world relays, and the first one held outside of The Bahamas.
The Bahamas will compete in the men’s 4×200 and 4x400m events at the World Relays, opting not to send any female teams and not to defend its title in the mixed 4x400m relay.
Joining the four listed above are Steven Gardiner, Stephen Newbold, Shavez Hart, Rico Moultrie, Anthony Adderley and Cliff Resias. Dawn Johnson is the team manager; Rupert Gardiner is the relay coordinator; and Michael Armbrister and Dr. Kent Bazzard will also travel as team officials.
At the world relays, the 4x100m and the 4x400m relays are qualified events, and the qualification system ran from January 2018 to April 2, 2019. Out of four squads, the men’s mile relay team is the only one that qualified from The Bahamas.
According to reports, after it was decided to field just a men’s 4x400m relay team, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle intervened, citing a desire for more teams to represent The Bahamas at the biennial meet. In this vein, the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) attempted to get the men and women’s 4x200m and the mixed relay squads included in The Bahamas’ delegation, but were only successful in getting the men’s 4x200m entered.
“Within this track and field cycle, we are mindful of using every opportunity to qualify for the world championships. This is why it was important to contest the traditional 4×100 and 4×400 events in Yokohama,” said BAAA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mabeline Miller through a press release. “Please be advised that entry standards were only imposed in the 4×100 and 4×400 events which are determined through the IAAF world ranking list.”
The top 10 teams in the men and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m events from the world relays, and the top 12 in the mixed 4x400m relay, will directly qualify for the 17th IAAF World Championships which is set for September 27 to October 6, 2019, in Doha, Qatar. The other spots will be determined from the IAAF world ranking list.
Apparently, The Bahamas’ top male and female quarter-milers, Gardiner and Shaunae Miller-Uibo, will not be available for the mixed relay in Doha, and neither will the country’s top two female short hurdlers, Pedrya Seymour and Devynne Charlton.
“We have also been advised by both Steven Gardiner and Shaunae Miller-Uibo’s managers that they would not be available for the mixed relay in Doha due to schedule conflicts. Similarly, this is the case for Devynne and Pedrya in the 100m hurdles,” confirmed Miller through the press release. “Therefore we are left with sending only our men’s 4×400 team. The team was selected based on time performances within this athletic season.”
Gardiner didn’t compete this past weekend, but Miller-Uibo was in action at the Tom Jones Memorial in Gainesville, Florida, where she ran a blazing world-leading time, and Charlton and Seymour were entered for the elite level women’s 100m hurdles at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.
Seymour false-started and Charlton was seventh in 13.45 seconds. Miller-Uibo was fantastic, circling the track in 49.05 in Gainesville. It’s the fastest time ever recorded before the month of June and is just 0.08 shy of her lifetime best she set last year.
Also at the Drake Relays, national record holder in the men’s 400m hurdles Jeffery Gibson took part in that event in the elite level race. Gibson finished second in 49.92 seconds. American CJ Allen won in 49.57 seconds, Gibson was second and American David Kendziera finished third in 49.97 seconds. In the women’s version of that race, Katrina Seymour was eighth in 1:00.03.
Back at the Penn Relays, University of The Bahamas (UB) junior Ken Mullings was on national record-setting pace until recording no height in the pole vault. He still finished second in the competition with 6,649 points. Christopher Gabor, of Mount St. Mary’s University, won with 6,792 points. Pritinder Singh, representing New Jersey Institute of Technology, finished third with 5,910 points.
Education: College of The Bahamas, Associates in Accounting