Sports

Gaither is eighth in the world

DOHA, Qatar – For the second consecutive world championships, Tynia Gaither has finished eighth in the women’s 200 meters (m).

She crossed the finish line in 22.90 seconds at the Khalifa International Stadium last night, trailing the field of competitors as day six of the 17th International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships wrapped up in Doha, Qatar.

Running blind from lane nine, Gaither said she tried to remain technical and stick to her race plan, but did not push off like she wanted to, and her finish wasn’t as strong as it usually is.

Dina Asher-Smith, of Great Britain, won her first global title, taking the tape in a national record time of 21.88 seconds. American Brittany Brown was second, finishing in a personal best time of 22.22 seconds, and Mujinga Kambundji, of Switzerland, won the bronze medal, in 22.51 seconds.

“It was a great race with some great athletes. I just didn’t get the job done,” said an emotional Gaither afterwards. “It was really tough, not just physically but mentally too – being the rabbit out there in lane nine. I tried to stay technical as much as I could but it just didn’t work out for me tonight.”

Despite falling short of the medal podium, there is no question that Gaither has made progress in both the 100 and 200m this season. She has been consistently under 23 seconds in the women’s 200m, and has been in the low 11-second range in the 100m. She has season’s best times of 11.04 seconds in the 100m and 22.57 seconds, which she did twice here at these world championships, in the heats and the semis, in the women’s 200m. The 11.04 clocking in the 100m is a personal best time for her, and her season’s best in the 200m is just three one hundredths of a second off her personal best time. Two of the three fastest races in her career in the women’s 200m occurred right here in Doha at these world championships.

Going into an Olympic year, she said that she has to work even harder if she wants to get to the next level. Making the final at a global meet is not the goal anymore. She wants to get on the medal podium and she believes she has what it takes to get there.

“I just have to train harder,” she said. “These girls aren’t playing any games. I just have to get stronger – last place is not where I belong and it doesn’t make me feel good. Going into an Olympic year, this isn’t what I want to feed off for sure.

“I have a lot of technical work to do and I have to get a lot stronger in the gym. I have a lot of room for growth, and that’s the good part about it,” she added.

Running two rounds of the 100 and two rounds of the 200m prior to the final last night might have taken a toll on Gaither’s body. She said more than anything, maybe mentally it played with her mind.

“I didn’t want to double from the jump, but my coach insisted,” she said. “I was still able to come out 13th overall in the 100 and still had legs for the 200 but I wish I would have just ran the 200,” she added.

Be that as it may, the 26-year-old sprinter from Grand Bahama said she enjoyed her time at the Doha World Championships, and always loves representing The Bahamas. She said she will continue to represent The Bahamas well as long as she is physically able to do so.

“It’s been amazing here,” she said. “I’m always in shock at how supportive the Bahamian people are. When we are feeling down, they continue to lift us up and that has been a big factor in us being able to step out there and do our best. Thank you guys so much.”

As for the final last night, Gaither appeared to lose some steam after being passed by American Dezerea Bryant and Asher-Smith on the curve. The home stretch is usually the strongest part of her race but it appeared that she didn’t have anything left and didn’t power home and finish strong like she usually does.

She will once again have to settle for eighth-best in the world, but her time in the final has improved over the last two world championships. At the 2017 London World Championships, she finished eighth in 23.07 seconds. Last night in Doha, she crossed the finish line in 22.90 seconds.

Gaither is looking forward to qualifying for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, and giving a much better showing for The Bahamas.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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