Gardiner, Miller-Uibo lead top performance list

The track and field season is essentially over for Bahamian athletes, and a number of them find themselves highly ranked, in their respective disciplines, on the World Athletics Top Performance List for 2021.

Leading the way on the senior side are The Bahamas’ Olympic Champions from Tokyo.

Steven Gardiner and Shaunae Miller-Uibo are on top of the world’s performance list for the men’s and women’s 400 meters (m), respectively.

Gardiner tied the world lead of 43.85 seconds for the gold medal in that event at the Tokyo Olympic Games. It was his second-fastest time in history, trailing just the 43.48 he ran for the gold medal at the world championships in Doha, Qatar, two years ago.

Tying Gardiner for the top time in the world this year is American Randolph Ross who circled the track for that 43.85 seconds time at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Outdoor Championships, at Hayward Field, in Eugene, Oregon, on June 11.

After running that time to win the NCAA title in Eugene, Ross was regarded as one of the athletes to watch for Tokyo, but he ran a modest 44.74 seconds for third at the US Olympic Trials and then faltered further as he failed to get out of the first round in Tokyo.

Gardiner went on to claim his title as the world’s best over one lap.

Battling nagging injuries, a loaded schedule and a determined young field of athletes who were fixed to knock her off her throne, Miller-Uibo turned up the heat and ran the fastest time of her life in Tokyo. It paid off with a blazing world leading time, new national and area record, and the 10th fastest in history in the women’s 400m – 48.36 seconds.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo of The Bahamas poses with her national flag after winning gold in the women’s 400-meter final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, in Tokyo. AP

Miller-Uibo was the only athlete to run under 49 seconds in the women’s 400m this year, and she finished nearly a full second faster than second place finisher, Marileidy Paulino, of the Dominican Republic, in the Olympic final.

In the women’s 200m, Miller-Uibo finished at number nine on the world’s performance list for 2021 with a season’s best time of 22.03 seconds that was done all the way back in April. She won that event at the Pure Athletics Spring Invitational, at her training base, at the National Training Center, in Clermont, Florida, in her season opener on April 4.

The only other Bahamian to crack the top 20 in the world this year, on the senior side, was Devynne Charlton in the women’s 100m hurdles.

Charlton finished the year tied at number 14 with American Taliyah Brooks, running a national record time of 12.61 seconds at the USA Track & Field (USATF) Golden Games, at Hilmer Lodge Stadium, in Walnut, California, on May 9. She finished fourth in that race, and ended her season with a spot in the final at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Charlton was sixth in the Olympic final in Tokyo, Japan, in 12.74 seconds, after running 12.84 in the opening round heats and 12.66 seconds in the semifinals.

Former World Champion Donald Thomas finished in a nine-way tie for 27th on the world’s performance list for 2021 in the men’s high jump with a season’s best clearance of 2.28m (7’ 5-3/4”), but will be the only 

Bahamian in action at the two-day Diamond League Final September 8-9, the Weltklasse Zürich, at Letzigrund Stadium, in Zürich, Switzerland.

Thomas posted that season’s best clearance at the AtleticaGenève World Athletics Continental Tour Meet, at the Centre sportif du Bout-du-Monde, in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 12.

Guardian Sports will take a look at the junior athletes who made the top performance list for 2021 tomorrow. 

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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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