Bahamian Olympic Champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo returned to Jamaica this past weekend, and was once again dominant in competition, racing to victory in the women’s 400 meters (m) at the Adidas Racers Grand Prix Athletics Meeting at the Jamaica National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica.
Miller-Uibo circled the track in 49.54 seconds, nearly a second faster than the old meet record of 50.52 seconds that was set by American Allyson Felix in 2017. American World Champion Phyllis Francis was a distant second in 50.85 seconds, and Chrisann Gordon, of Jamaica, finished third in 51.83 seconds.
The time by Miller-Uibo, the seventh-fastest of her career, came in her second individual race of the year. In April she ran a world-leading 49.05 seconds to win the women’s 400m at the Tom Jones Memorial Classic in Gainesville, Florida. That time is the second-fastest ever recorded by a Bahamian, and is just eight one hundredths of a second off Miller-Uibo’s national record. She is the only woman worldwide to run under 50 seconds in the women’s 400m this year, and she has done it twice.
On Saturday, Miller-Uibo was in a class by herself. She quickly made up the stagger on Francis who was in a lane ahead of her, took command on the back stretch and paced herself properly for the remainder of the race. By the 200m mark, Miller-Uibo was the clear leader. She continued to separate herself from the pack, and came into the home stretch with about a five to 10-meter lead. Miller-Uibo stayed tall, maintained her form, and won comfortably.
World Champion Francis, who was one of three ladies who passed Miller-Uibo on the home stretch, after Miller-Uibo stumbled, at the London World Championships two years ago, paled in comparison to the Bahamian Olympic Champion on this day. Miller-Uibo puilled away from Francis even further on the home stretch and actually eased up coming into the tape.
There were a couple of Bahamians in the women’s 200m on Saturday. Tynia Gaither continued a strong season for her, finishing third in 22.88 seconds, and Anthonique Strachan had to settle for sixth in 23.31 seconds. Brittany Brown, of the United States, won the race in 22.65 seconds, Jamaican Shashalee Forbes took second in 22.83 seconds, and Gaither rounded out the top three.
Over in the women’s triple jump, Bahamian national record holder Tamara Myers struggled to get in a good jump. She fouled on her first two attempts at the board, and could only manage a leap of 13.20m (43’ 3-3/4”) on her third attempt to finish eighth in the competition. Shanieka Ricketts, of Jamaica, won with a jump of 14.69m (48’ 2-1/2”), Keturah Orji, of the United States, was second with a leap of 14.55m (47’ 9”), and Cuban Liadagmis Povea rounded out the top three with a jump of 14.50m (47’ 7”).
Devynne Charlton continues to struggle this season, finishing eighth in the women’s 100m hurdles in 13.43 seconds. World record holder Kendra Harrison, of United States, won in 12.54 seconds, American Queen Harrison finished second in 12.69 seconds, and Megan Tapper, of Jamaica, rounded out the top three in 12.93 seconds.
The meet, which was sponsored by Adidas for the first time, attracted some of the region’s best athletes on Saturday. It was started by the chairman and head coach of the Racers Grand Prix, former track club of Jamaican superstar legend Usain Bolt, in 2016, as a means to aid in the development of Jamaica’s athletics and that of the Racers Track and Field Club.
Meanwhile, men’s 200-400m national record holder Steven Gardiner got back on the track for the first time in two months. He pulled out of the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Relays, complaining of a strained Achilles tendon. Over the weekend, Gardiner and a number of Bahamians competed at the Star Athletics Sprint Series Meet, in Montverde, Florida.
Gardiner was second in the men’s 200m timed final, finishing in 20.46 seconds. American Isiah Young won in 20.15 seconds, Gardiner was second, and Romario Williams finished third in 20.47 seconds.
Michael Mathieu was 16th overall in the 200m, finishing in 21.20 seconds, Stephen Newbold finished 17th overall, in 21.22 seconds, Maverick Bowleg was 25th overall, finishing in 21.45 seconds, Kendrick Thompson finished 28th overall, in 21.54 seconds, Andre Colebrook was 36th overall, finishing in 22.52 seconds, and the other Bahamian Cameron Parker did not start the event.
In the men’s 400m, Alonzo Russell finished third in 46.24 seconds, Newbold was 12th in 47.40 seconds, Bowleg was 13th in 47.41 seconds, Colebrook finished 15th in 47.77 seconds, Thompson was 18th in 48.26 seconds and Ashley Riley finished 19th in 48.29 seconds. Gardiner and Ojay Ferguson were on the start lists but both did not start the event.