Shaunae Miller-Uibo has entered a new stratosphere in world sprinting!
In what was her last 200 meters (m) race of the season, she went out in grand style, setting a new national record, new Diamond League record and new world leading time. The Bahamian track sensation ran 21.74 seconds to win her third straight Diamond League title in the women’s 200m, and fourth in total overall, at the first of two Diamond League Finals, the 2019 Weltklasse Zürich, in Zürich, Switzerland, yesterday. For her efforts, she will cart off another Diamond League Trophy and the US$50,000 top prize.
Dina Asher-Smith, of Great Britain, was a distant second in a season’s best time of 22.08 seconds, and double sprint Olympic Champion Elaine Thompson, of Jamaica, was even further back, in third, in a modest 22.44 seconds. Two-time World Champion Dafne Schippers, of the Netherlands, settled for fourth, in 22.46 seconds.
Miller-Uibo has now won 12 straight races in the women’s 200m and has recorded 26 straight victories overall, covering all of her events. She hasn’t lost a 200m race since finishing third at the London World Championships two years ago.
It’s no secret that the ending stages of her 200m sprint is usually the best part of her race, so when she came off the curve in line with Asher-Smith for the lead, one got the feeling that greatness was about to occur for the Bahamian track star. Running out of lane six with Asher-Smith behind her in lane four, Miller-Uibo came off the curve in great position and powered home for the impressive victory. She created more and more separation with each stride on the homestretch. Miller-Uibo pulled away from Asher-Smith and the rest of the field with about 75 meters to go and won comfortably, ironically on the same track and in the same stadium where she set the previous national record of 21.88 seconds two years ago – Letzigrund Stadium in Zürich, Switzerland’s largest and most populous city.
As if she needed any further validation that she was already among the world’s best 200-400m sprinters ever, Miller-Uibo is now in a four-way tie for 11th all-time in the women’s 200m, and is just the second woman ever to run under 21.75 seconds in the 200m and under 49 seconds in the 400m. The other is 400m world record holder Marita Koch of the former German Democratic Republic.
Miller-Uibo is also among 13 other women to ever win three straight Diamond League titles in a singular event, ever since the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) switched from the Golden League to the Diamond League in 2010. Her stunning time is also the fastest in the world in four years – ever since Schippers and Thompson finished first and second at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, China.
In a month’s time, Miller-Uibo will go after her first world title, but this time in the 400m at the 17th IAAF World Championships at the renovated multi-purpose Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar. That global meet is set for September 27 to October 6.
At the worlds, the women’s 200 and 400m are packed close together, and Miller-Uibo has been lobbying the IAAF and meet organizers for a schedule change so as to go after the double in Doha, but to no avail. The 400m has always been her preferred race, and she is among the top 10 all-time in that event.
Now she’s making strides in the 200m. In the winner-takes-all format in Zürich on Thursday, she was in a class by herself. Miller-Uibo is the only woman worldwide to run under 22 seconds this year, and is almost a half second faster than any Bahamian in history in the women’s 200m. With her start getting better and better, the sky is the limit for her. Only three women running today have ever gone faster over that distance – Schippers, Thompson and Allyson Felix of the United States.
The two-day, two-city Diamond League Finals climaxes next week Friday in Brussels, Belgium, when the final 16 Diamond League Champions will be crowned. Miller-Uibo was the only Bahamian in action yesterday, and will now be focusing on the upcoming world championships.
Miller-Uibo is also among seven women to ever win four or more Diamond League titles. She won both the 200 and 400m titles in 2017, repeated as 200m champion last year and then won her third straight title in the women’s 200m yesterday.