Bahamian speed queen Shaunae Miller-Uibo set a world-leading time of 49.08 seconds in the women’s 400 meters (m) – her fourth-fastest time ever – in her 2021 season-opener at the USATF (United States of America Track and Field) Grand Prix Continental Tour Gold Meeting on Saturday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. The Bahamian Olympic Champion put the world on notice that she is in tip-top shape, just a few months ahead of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, slated for this summer in Tokyo, Japan.
Miller-Uibo now has the fastest-time in that event at historic Hayward Field that has been around for over 100 years. She broke American Sanya Richards-Ross’ almost nine-year stadium record of 49.29 seconds. After the race, Miller-Uibo said she has been working on her strength.
“The 400 meters is my favorite event, so I love coming in and trying to figure it out and having some fun. We have been really working on getting our strength up and now that we are in the middle of the season we are going on speed and getting ready to put some great performances in the 200 meters,” Miller-Uibo said.
Surprisingly, it was not her fastest season opener, having run 49.05 seconds to open her 2019 outdoor season. Miller-Uibo posted a world-leading 50.21 seconds in the 400m indoors back in February of this year.
Finishing behind Miller-Uibo on Saturday was American Lynna Irby with a time of 50.28 seconds, and American Jessica Beard clocked 50.38 seconds for the third place finish.
After the starter’s gun went off, the 27-year-old Bahamian used her long stride to get the advantage on her opponents on the back stretch. By the 150m mark, Miller-Uibo jumped into a higher gear and began to separate herself from the field. On the final straight, it was only her as she comfortably cruised to the finish line first.
This was the first of 11 meetings in the USATF’s Journey to Gold series.
Also in action at that meet was Bahamian Holland Martin who is still looking to book his ticket to the Olympic Games, which is set for July 23 to August 8. The qualifying deadline for the Olympics for conventional track and field events is June 29. Martin was fourth overall in the men’s long jump event with a leap of 7.68m (25’ 2-1/2”), which came on his first jump.
American Marquis Dendy finished first overall after recording a distance of 7.98m (26’ 2-1/4”). American Charles Brown was second after leaping 7.82m (25’ 8”) and finishing third was American Damarcus Simpson as he posted a distance of 7.71m (25’ 3-1/2”).
Tynia Gaither was also in fine form when she clocked an impressive personal best of 11.02 seconds in the women’s 100m at the TRUFit Sprint Classic in Miami, Florida, on Saturday. She finished second in that event. Her time puts her at number six in the world rankings this season, and she just missed becoming the seventh Bahamian to run under 11 seconds in the women’s 100m. In the preliminaries, she clocked 11.10 seconds to advance to the final. It was a great improvement for the Bahamian sprinter as her previous season’s best was 11.42 seconds that was ran the weekend prior at the Michael Johnson Invitation in Waco, Texas. Prior to this weekend, Gaither’s previous personal best was 11.16 seconds – a time she beat twice on Saturday.
Jamaican Natasha Morrison won with a time of 10.87 seconds. Finishing third was Guyanese Jasmine Abrams who posted a time of 11.19 seconds.
Gaither later ran the women’s 200m and easily won in a wind-aided 22.70 seconds (3.0 meters per second). This was her first 200m event of the season. It was a good start for her in the 200m despite the wind-aided result. She was the only runner to run under 23 seconds in the race.
India’s Srabani Nanda was second with a wind-aided time of 23.37 seconds. Finishing third was Jamaican Jodean Williams who
sprinted her way to a wind-aided time of 23.59 seconds.
Competing at the Drake Relays at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, Devynne Charlton and Pedrya Seymour were in action in the women’s 100m hurdles on Saturday. They were unable to crack any of the podium positions but both ran spectacular times, finishing the race in less than 13 seconds each.
Charlton ran out of lane one and tied her season’s best of 12.84 seconds to finish fourth overall. She ran that same time at the Miramar Invitational in Hollywood, Florida, when she qualified for the Olympics for the first time. Seymour clocked 12.93 seconds out of lane seven to finish sixth overall. Her personal best time is 12.64 seconds which is the national record. Both Charlton and Seymour have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
Winning that event on Saturday was Great Britain’s Cindy Sember after she clocked a personal best time of 12.57 seconds. American Christina Clemons finished second in a season’s best time of 12.59 seconds, and Tiffany Porter, of Great Britain, the sister of Sembler, rounded out the top three in 12.80 seconds. American Gabbi Cunningham split Charlton and Seymour for fifth, finishing in a personal best time of 12.88 seconds.