Sports

Miller-Uibo set to run both the 200m and 400m

TOKYO, Japan – Sources close within Shaunae Miller-Uibo’s circle have confirmed that she will run both the women’s 200 and 400 meters (m) at the Games of the 32nd Olympiad currently ongoing in Tokyo, Japan.

The Bahamian track and field superstar, who was denied the opportunity five years ago, has apparently determined, in consultation with her team, that this is the best course of action to take.

It was something that Miller-Uibo always wanted to do, but a conflicting schedule prompted her to lean toward one event over the other and that event was the women’s 200m, seeing that she already has the Olympic title in the longer race.

After running both events at the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ (BAAA) Junior and Senior National Track and Field Championships at the end of June, Miller-Uibo was asked again if she would consider doing both events in Tokyo and she simply said, “We’ll see.”

She has been one of the world’s best sprinters over both disciplines in this Olympic cycle, posting world leading times in the women’s 400m in 2017 and 2018, and in the women’s 200m in 2019 and 2020.

Miller-Uibo is one of the world’s most versatile female athletes – one of just four athletes in history to ever run under 49 seconds in the women’s 400m, under 22 seconds in the women’s 200m and under 11 seconds in the women’s 100m. She is known for her superior top end speed and ability to reel in the quickest of athletes in the world once she straightens up and reaches maximum acceleration.

However, Miller-Uibo has been battling a groin injury over the past few weeks, one that contributed in her 16-race unbeaten streak in the women’s 200m being snapped at the 2021 Gyulai István Memorial in Székesfehérvár, Hungary, at the beginning of July. She had a 26-race unbeaten streak snapped at the Doha World Championships in 2019.

With World Champion Salwa Eid Naser, of Bahrain, serving a two-year ban for a “whereabouts failures” violation and world leader Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi, both 18-year-olds of Namibia, out of the Olympics due to high testosterone levels, Miller-Uibo would be an overwhelming favorite for the gold medal in the women’s 400m in Tokyo, lining her up to repeat as Olympic champion.

The 200m is a far more daunting task, but the 27-year-old Bahamian is up to the challenge.

A total of six women have run under 22 seconds in the women’s 200m this year and Miller-Uibo is not one of them. She has gone as fast as 21.74 seconds in her career, at the Diamond League title in Zürich, Switzerland, in 2019, but has a modest season’s best time of 22.03 seconds.

American Gabrielle Thomas became the second-fastest athlete of all time over that distance behind the late Florence Griffith-Joyner, running a stunning 21.61 seconds at the US Olympic Team Trials in June. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the 12-time global champion from Jamaica, has run a personal best time of 21.79 seconds this season and her compatriot Shericka Jackson has found her form in that event this season, running a personal best of 21.82 seconds and ending Miller-Uibo’s four-year unbeaten streak in the women’s 200m.

Additionally, there are athletes such as Dina Asher-Smith, of Great Britain, Marie Josée Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast, Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica and Americans Jenna Prandina and Anavia Battle who have all ran well this season.

Be that as it may, Miller-Uibo will certainly be the favorite for the gold medal in the women’s 400m and a strong contender for a medal, potentially gold, in the women’s 200m.

The opening round heats of the women’s 200m are set for the morning session of Monday, August 2 at the Japan National Stadium in Tokyo and the heats of the women’s 400m are the following day.

The final of the women’s 200m and the first round of the women’s 400m are on the same day, separated by about 12 hours on the schedule.

Miller-Uibo could run as many as five races in three days and six races in five days should she advance to the final of both events. She could also become just the third athlete in history to win both the 200 and 400m at a single Olympics with Michael Johnson, of the United States, and Marie-José Pérec, of France, being the other two.

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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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