DOHA, Qatar – Competition for Team Bahamas is wrapping up at the 17th International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships at the Khalifa International Stadium and Head Coach Fritz Grant said he likes what he saw from the athletes.
Just two of the nine team members are still competing, and they are The Bahamas’ two most prominent athletes – Shaunae Miller-Uibo who will run in the final of the women’s 400 meters (m) tonight in Doha, this afternoon in The Bahamas, and Steven Gardiner who will run in the final of the men’s 400m tomorrow.
So far, The Bahamas has had three finalists and two more semifinalists in the 10 events contested – Gaither competed in two events.
Grant is looking for some big things from Miller-Uibo and Gardiner today and tomorrow.
“For the most part, our athletes have been very competitive,” he said. “So far, we have had two athletes go through to their respective finals, and we hope to get Stevie there later this evening,” he added prior to Gardiner’s semifinal race. “Hopefully, our finalists could come through with medals for us. That would be wonderful.”
Miller-Uibo is a heavy favorite for the gold medal, and Gardiner is in line for a medal as well. Miller-Uibo comes into her event with a world-leading time of 49.05 seconds. Gardiner is third behind Americans Michael Norman and Fred Kerley with a season’s best time of 44.14 seconds.
Last night, Gaither finished eighth in the women’s 200m final in 22.90 seconds. Additionally, she made the semifinals of the women’s 100m, finishing tied for 13th overall, in 11.20 seconds.
Anthonique Strachan made the semifinals of the women’s 200m before pulling up with an apparent hamstring injury on Tuesday night.
“These athletes are focused, ready to compete and ready to represent the 242,” said Grant. “I believe they are going to do something special and let the world know how great we are. It’s a small country but we have great athletes in track and field. I believe we have a very good chance to get at least two medals – maybe two gold. The team spirit is great and all three of them appear to be healthy,” he added prior to Gaither’s race last night.
It’s one of the smallest teams ever assembled for The Bahamas at a major international meet such as the Olympics and the world championships.
For the first time since the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, The Bahamas was not represented in any of the relays at the world championships. The Bahamas was also represented at every single Olympic Games over that span, in at least one relay.
This year, no team qualified.
Be that as it may, Grant said that he is completely satisfied with what he got from the nine young athletes. The Bahamas advanced in half of the team’s events, and a third of the team made their respective finals.
It remains to be seen what will happen in the men and women’s 400m finals.