DOHA, Qatar ‑ Tynia Gaither has been around the 11.20 mark all season, and today was no different as she glided into the semifinals of the women’s 100 meters (m) at the 17th International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships here in Doha, Qatar.
It’s her first appearance in the 100m semis at the worlds, and Gaither said that while she’s happy about that, she still some unfinished business. She wants to get into the final and feels that she will have to run a lifetime best here at the Khalifa International Stadium in order to do that.
She was fourth in her opening round heat in 11.24 seconds today, and will move into tomorrow semis as one of the fastest non-automatic qualifiers. She was actually the fastest automatic qualifier in the opening round.
“I got all the jitters out of the way and I feel good,” she said. “The goal is to go out there and focus on the races one round at a time. I feel really good about that time. I’m excited about that. To come out here and do that in the first round was pretty cool.”
Double sprint European Champion Dina Asher-Smith, of Great Britain, won that opening round heat in 10.96 seconds. American English Gardner finished second in 11.20 seconds, and Jamaican Jonielle Smith ran an identical time as Gardner and grabbed the third automatic qualifying spot for the semis. Gaither, who came in with a season’s and lifetime best of 11.04 seconds, had to settle for fourth.
“I’m going to come out and do my best tomorrow and I feel that will get me into the final,” she said. “I’m super excited. I feel blessed. That’s really a good set-up for the next round and I’m happy.
“Those other girls were rolling. I knew that it was good field but I just wanted to focus on myself. I felt like they pushed me to be able to do what I needed to do.”
Jamaican three-time World Champion in that event Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce proved that she is fantastic form, running the fastest ever time in an opening round heat at the world championships. She clocked a stunning 10.80 seconds to go into the semifinals as the fastest qualifier. Not too far behind was Marie-Josee Ta Lou, of the Ivory Coast, matching her personal best of 10.85 seconds. Asher-Smith was the third-fastest qualifier for the semis.
Gaither, who hails from Grand Bahama, said it was important for her to have a strong opening round performance given the destruction to the Northern Bahamas that was caused by Hurricane Dorian at the beginning of the month.
“I feel like I have to come out and represent my country well at this time. When everything was going down back home, I was in Europe competing. I ended up doing really good in my last few races and I came here looking to put out the same energy, and come here and make The Bahamas proud,” said Gaither. “On behalf of Team Bahamas, everything we do we do it with The Bahamas in mind. We’re still grieving but we’re putting all of our energy into this to make you guys proud.”
Gaither will return for tomorrow semis. The line-up sheets haven’t been released as yet, but she knows that she will have to really get out and run as good as she ever have to get into the final.
The semifinals are set for 9:20 p.m. tomorrow night here in Doha, 2:20 p.m. in The Bahamas, and the final is two hours later, 11:20 p.m. here in Doha and 4:20 p.m. in The Bahamas.