Shaunae Miller-Uibo is truly in a class by herself.
The Bahamian track sensation broke another world record on Thursday, her third outdoors in as many years, and her fourth in total, in racing to victory in the women’s 300 meters (m) at the 58th Ostrava Golden Spike Meet at the Městský Stadion in Ostrava-Vítkovice, Czech Republic.
Miller-Uibo won the unconventional race in 34.41 seconds, obliterating the former world record of 35.30 seconds that stood for 16 years. Mexican Ana Guevara, a former rival of Bahamian World and Olympic Champion Tonique Williams-Darling, set the old record in her home country of Mexico in May of 2003.
Marita Koch, representing the German Democratic Republic (GDR) at the 4th International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Cup in Athletics in 1985, set the fastest ever recorded time over the 300m distance (34.14 seconds) but that was done en route to a longer distance. She is also the world record holder in the open 400m (47.60 seconds).
In the flat 300m, Miller-Uibo is now the fastest ever, adding that world record to the ones in the 150 and 200m straight events, and the 300m indoors.
The Bahamian superstar got out of the blocks yesterday like she was shot out of a cannon.
Running out of lane six, Miller-Uibo quickly picked up the stagger on Lada Vondrová of the Czech Republic in lane seven. Miller-Uibo covered Vondrová in the first 50-75 meters of the race, and then targeted Anna Kiełbasińska of Poland who was out in lane eight. By the time Miller-Uibo made her way around the bend, she was well ahead of the field and was practically running against the clock.
Miller-Uibo came into the home stretch with at least a five-meter lead on her nearest competitor, and continued to pull away. She shortened her stride about three meters from the finish line, and still set a new world record by almost a full second. American Brittany Brown was a distant second in 35.91 seconds, and another American, Jaide Stepter, finished third, in 36.12 seconds.
Miller-Uibo remains unbeaten in 2019, as she was in all of 2018. She has an 18-race unbeaten streak, dating back to the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham Diamond League Meet in 2017 when she finished eighth in the women’s 100m. She hasn’t lost in the 200 and 400m since the London World Championships in 2017, and remains unbeaten in the 300m in her professional career.
She hasn’t opened up her season in the 200m as yet, but has the two fastest times in the world in the women’s 400m this year. She won the 400m at the Tom Jones Memorial Classic in Gainesville, Florida, in April, in 49.05 seconds, and also took the 400m title at the Adidas Racers Grand Prix Meet in Kingston, Jamaica, 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.
The 49.05 time by Miller-Uibo is the second-fastest ever recorded by a Bahamian, and is just eight one hundredths of a second off her national record time (48.97 seconds in Fontvieille, Monaco, last year). Miller-Uibo is the only woman worldwide to run under 50 seconds in the women’s 400m this year, and she has done it twice.
Miller-Uibo wasn’t the only Bahamian competing in the IAAF World Challenge Meet in Ostrava yesterday.
In the men’s 400m, Steven Gardiner coasted in 44.95 seconds, picking up an easy win. Abbas Abubakar Abbas, of Bahrain, finished a distant second in 45.86 seconds, and Luka Janežič, of Slovenia, finished third in 45.97 seconds.
Gardiner is gradually getting back to form after struggling through a strained Achilles tendon which kept him out of the IAAF World Relays. He has run twice since, prior to yesterday, but both times were substandard when compared to what Bahamians have come to expect from him in recent times.
Yesterday in Ostrava, Gardiner cruised to victory. Running out of the center of the track in lane four, Gardiner got out to a moderate start before picking it up on the backstretch. He moved past the runners in the lanes ahead of him on the back curve and maintained his form around the bend. Coming onto the homestretch, Gardiner was the clear leader. The Bahamian 200-400m double national record holder stayed tall and cruised home for the easy win.
It was his first 400m race of the season after running a couple half-lappers, a couple of 300m indoors and the men’s 200m straight at the Adidas Boost Boston Games on Sunday. It’s the first time he’s been in the high 44s in the 400m in two years. The Bahamian phenom has run three sub-44 second races since, and appears to gradually be getting back to form.
Both Miller-Uibo and Gardiner are yet to compete on the IAAF Diamond League circuit for 2019.
The 12-race series heads to Eugene, Oregon – the only Diamond League stop in the United States – on June 30.
Education: College of The Bahamas, Associates in Accounting