It seems as if the novel coronavirus pandemic hasn’t slowed down three of The Bahamas’ elite athletes as they turned in strong performances this past weekend.
For the first time in her career, Shaunae Miller-Uibo is the world leader in all three sprints – the 100, 200 and 400 meters (m). Steven Gardiner was sub-20 in finishing second to the world champion over that distance, Noah Lyles, and that was in separate heats; and Anthonique Strachan
proved that she is back from injury as she ran her fastest time in the women’s 200m in five years on Saturday.
Miller-Uibo and Gardiner both competed at the Back to the Track Meet at the National Training Center in Clermont, Florida; and Strachan ran at Velocity Fest 2020 at Ashenheim Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica.
Miller-Uibo claimed the sprint double, taking the 100m in a personal best time of 10.98 seconds after running 11.03 seconds in the heats; and then coming back the following day and winning the 200m in a season’s best time of 21.98 seconds. Coming into the meet, her previous personal best time in the 100m was 11.19 seconds.
The 26-year-old Bahamian star is now just the fourth female athlete in history to go sub-11 in the 100m, sub-22 in the 200m and sub-49 in the 400m. The others are German world record holder in the 400m Marita Koch; Marie-José Pérec, of France; and American Valerie Brisco-Hooks.
Miller-Uibo is also the sixth Bahamian woman to ever run under 11 seconds in the 100m, joining all five of the “Golden Girls”. American teenager Tamari Davis settled for second in that 100m final in 11.15 seconds on Friday, and fellow American Aleia Hobbs rounded out the top three in 11.16 seconds.
The Bahamian Olympic Champion in the women’s 400m came back the following day and was just as impressive in the 200m as she was in the 100m, blazing to victory in 21.98 seconds. She has now dipped under the world-class elite standard mark of 22 seconds flat in three of the past four years. Hurdler Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, of Puerto Rico, was a distant second in a personal best time of 22.45 seconds, and former National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Champion in the women’s 400m Lynna Irby, of the United States, was third in 22.47.
Over in the men’s 200m, Steven Gardiner was the clear winner in his heat, winning in 19.96 seconds, but finishing second to Lyles overall. The American crossed the finish line in his heat in a world-leading time of 19.94 seconds. American Kenny Bednarek finished third overall in 20.19 seconds. Lyles’ younger brother Josephus was second behind Gardiner in the second heat, and fifth overall, in a personal best time of 20.24 seconds. Divine Oduduru, of Nigeria, finished fourth overall, in 20.22 seconds; and triple Olympic medalist Andre De Grasse, of Canada, was sixth overall, timed in 20.24 seconds.
In Jamaica, representing the Maximising Velocity and Power (MVP) Track and Field Club, Strachan looked strong, winning in 22.72 seconds. Jamaican Natasha Morrison finished a distant second in 23.68 seconds, and another Jamaican, Michae Harriott, settled for third overall, in 23.90 seconds. It was Strachan’s fastest time in five years, ever since she ran 22.69 seconds in Doha, Qatar, in 2015.
The season continues for Bahamian track and field athletes as they try to maintain some fitness in the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic. During the initial months of the spread of the virus, tracks and training centers in the United States and around the Caribbean were closed, and athletes were forced to work out in the vicinity of their homes and nearby parks. Facilities have since opened, and a number of club meets are taking place.