The sport of athletics (track and field) has taken off and really expanded in Poland, so it’s only fitting that the Polish top athletics meet ascends into a new classification – on par with the top athletics meets in the world.
The Kamila Skolimowska Memorial Meet has joined the prestigious Diamond League circuit, now recognized as one of the top one-day meets in Europe, and indeed around the world. It’s the newest Diamond League meet on the calendar.
Also new is Shaunae Miller-Uibo moving away from the 400 meters (m). The Bahamian athletics star has run the 400m all of her career, but recently, she decided to drop that event in favor of the women’s 200m and not attempt to become the first woman in history to win three straight Olympic titles in the one-lap event. She has said that her victory at the World Athletics Outdoor Championships, winning her first world outdoor title, was her last competitive experience in the 400m.
Having said that, Miller-Uibo got her post-400m career off on Saturday and reminded the world that she is still a formidable 200m runner.
Miller-Uibo rebounded from a moderate start to the race, by her standards, and battled back for second in the women’s 200m at the world’s newest Diamond League meet, held at the Silesian Stadium in Chorzów, Poland, on Saturday.
Despite limited action in the 200m this year, Miller-Uibo proved that she is still world-class in that event and still capable of providing a challenge to any athlete. The Bahamian two-time Olympic Champion finished in 22.35 seconds on Saturday, trailing just World Champion Shericka Jackson, of Jamaica, to the tape.
Jackson, number two on the all-time list with that stunning 21.45 seconds run at the World Athletics Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, won comfortably in Poland on
zSaturday. She was timed in a new meet record of 21.84 seconds.
Miller-Uibo powered past American Jenna Prandini on the homestretch and outleaned the American for the silver medal. Her time of 22.35 seconds was just off her season’s best time of 22.32 seconds, which was done at the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) National Youth, Junior and Senior Championships in June.
Prandini ran 22.39 seconds for third. Bahamian TyNia Gaither skipped the 200m at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, to run at the first Diamond League in Poland, and finished fourth. She ran a time of 22.70 seconds. American Gabrielle Thomas, the bronze medalist from the Tokyo Olympic Games, also competed in Poland, but it wasn’t a good race for her as she ended up in seventh in 22.86 seconds, significantly slower than her personal best time of 21.61 seconds.
Miller-Uibo said afterwards that she was comfortable with her run.
“I did not want to put too much pressure on myself and wanted to have fun,” she told reporters. “I think I am going to skip the indoor season and just focus on the outdoors next year. This is a part of the preparation. I am still not sure about multi events. Before the next season we start with the endurance.”
Miller-Uibo and Gaither were the only two Bahamians in action in Poland on Saturday. In Miller-Uibo’s absence from the 400m, world-class 400m hurdler Femke Bol, of the Netherlands, took that race in a national record and meet record time of 49.75 seconds. Hometown favorite Natalia Kaczmarek, of Poland, was second in a personal best time of 49.86 seconds and Jamaican Candice McLeod edged her countrywoman Stephenie Ann McPherson, finishing third in 50.22 seconds.
For Miller-Uibo, she is no stranger to the 200m. She is a three-time Diamond League Champion in the women’s 200m, a Commonwealth Games Champion in the women’s 200m and a bronze medalist at the world championships level. She has a personal best national record time of 21.74 seconds – tied for 13th with three others on the all-time list in that event.
It remains to be seen just how fast Miller-Uibo could go with her focus now shifted to the half-lap event.