Sports

Shaunae going after 3rd straight DL title

Shaunae Miller-Uibo will once again try to make history for The Bahamas when she competes in the women’s 200 meters (m) in the first of two Diamond League Finals, in Zürich, Switzerland, today. The first 16 IAAF Diamond League Champions for this year  will be crowned at the Stadion Letzigrund in Zürich, and the Bahamian track star will be going after her third straight Diamond League title in the women’s 200m, and fourth overall.

The 2019 Weltklasse Zürich features some of the world’s top stars competing in a number of disciplines in Switzerland’s largest city. Miller-Uibo will be the only Bahamian in action, and will compete in the loaded field in the women’s 200m – an event she hasn’t lost since finishing third at the London World Championships two years ago.

In her last 200m race in Birmingham, England, two weekends ago, Miller-Uibo powered past Dina Asher-Smith, of Great Britain, and former World Champion over that distance, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, of Jamaica, on the straightaway for an impressive victory. She won in 22.24 seconds, Asher-Smith was second in 22.36 seconds, and Fraser-Pryce settled for third in 22.50 seconds.

Miller-Uibo has won 11 straight races in the women’s 200m, and has recorded 25 straight victories overall, covering all of her events.

At the official press conference, she said she is looking forward to the race and duplicating her performance from Birmingham in what will be a winner-takes-all format in Zürich.

“It (200m in Birmingham) was a very good meet, having everyone come together and give a preview of what’s to come at the world championships. It was a real exciting race, competing against a lot of great athletes. It was fun, and I’m looking forward to the race here in Zürich,” she said.

The winner of each discipline today will take home the Diamond Trophy for that particular event and the accompanying US$50,000 top prize. Also, they will each receive a wildcard entry for next month’s IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019.

Once again, Miller-Uibo will be up against a world-class field.

Running out of lane six today, she will have athletes such as Elaine Thompson, Asher-Smith and Daphne Schippers behind her. Thompson, the double Olympic sprint champion from Jamaica, will run out of lane five, European Champion Asher-Smith will be in lane four, and two-time World Champion Schippers, from the Netherlands, will run out of lane three. The rest of the field includes hometown favorite Mujinga Kambunji, of Switzerland, in lane seven; Blessing Okagbare, of Nigeria, in lane eight; Jamile Samuel, of the Netherlands, in lane one; and Canadian Crystal Emmanuel in lane two.

Miller-Uibo was also in lane six when she won in at the Muller Grand Prix Diamond League Meet in Birmingham. She came off the curve in stride with the frontrunners, and used her strength and long strides to carry her to victory on the home stretch. The Bahamian speedster proved to be a step ahead of her rivals once again.

Five of the top 10 in the world this year are entered in the women’s 200m final in Zürich today. Miller-Uibo is at number three with a season’s best time of 22.09 seconds. Thompson is the world leader at 22 seconds flat. Okagbare is at number two at 22.05 seconds.

All of the athletes are tuning up for the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships, set for September 27 to October 6, at the renovated multi-purpose Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

Miller-Uibo has focused more on the 200m this year, but is expected to run the 400m at the world championships. As for the Diamond League title in that event, Miller-Uibo won’t be a part of the mix. She hasn’t run any Diamond League race in the women’s 400m this year, and will not contest that event in the Diamond League Final today.

Miller-Uibo remains unbeaten over the past two seasons, and is chasing even more significant history today. Just a dozen women have ever won three straight Diamond League titles in a singular event in athletics. Miller-Uibo won both the 200 and 400m titles in 2017, and then repeated as 200m champion last year. She will be going after her third straight Diamond League title in the women’s 200m today.

The two-day, two-city Diamond League Finals starts in Zürich today, and climaxes in Brussels, Belgium, on September 6, when the final 16 Diamond League Champions will be crowned.

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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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