Just a week after running a season’s best time in Rome, Bahamian Anthonique Strachan matched that performance over the weekend in Doha, ending a tumultuous 2020 season in a respected fashion, but most importantly, healthy.
The former double sprint world junior champion returned to the track where she suffered a grade two hamstring tear at the world championships a year ago, and held her own against some of the world’s top sprinters. Strachan finished fifth in the women’s 100 meters (m), matching her season’s best in 11.42 seconds.
Strachan’s training partner at Maximising Velocity & Power (MVP) Track and Field Club in Kingston, Jamaica, Elaine Thompson-Herah, took the tape, almost matching her world lead of 10.85 seconds at the Wanda Doha Diamond League Meet on Friday in Doha, Qatar.
The double sprint Olympic Champion was timed in 10.87 seconds. Double sprint world championships silver medalist Marie-Josée Ta Lou, of the Ivory Coast, was a distant second in 11.21 seconds. Kayla White, of the United States, settled for third in 11.25 seconds. Kristal Awuah, of Great Britain, was fourth in a season’s best time of 11.27 seconds. Strachan, who is more known for her prowess in the 200m, settled for fifth, just holding off Brit Amy Hunt who was sixth in 11.43 seconds.
Regarding her time in Europe, Strachan said that it felt good to experience usual race conditions in a competitive atmosphere. Safety measures and social distancing protocols were in place in respect of the COVID-19 pandemic, but otherwise, pre-race procedures and guidelines were followed. The Doha meet was the final Diamond League Meet of the COVID-19-shortened season. A total of seven Diamond League Meets were canceled this year. Strachan was the only Bahamian competing in Doha on Friday.
“Both events provided a cloud of normalcy in competing,” said Strachan. “It was challenging because you still had to respect the social distancing protocols that were in place but for the most part it felt like a professional race. The normalcy came with the bids and call rooms, and on the track, there were no skipping of lanes and the adrenaline was there as it was before COVID. Sometimes it felt like a training session while running in Jamaica, but in Rome and Doha it felt like a race.”
Strachan ended the season with season’s best times of 11.42 seconds in the 100m and 22.67 seconds in the 200m. The latter was her fastest time in that event in six years and would have been a qualifying time for the Olympics if not for the suspension of the Olympic qualifying period. The qualifying time for the Olympics is 22.80 seconds, but with the Olympics being pushed to July 23 to August 8, still in Tokyo, Japan, the qualifying period has been suspended until December 1.
Strachan, 27, ended the year as the eighth best in the world in the 200m according to the World Athletics rankings, and finished in a three-way tie for 62nd in the 100m. She dipped below the qualifying standard of 22.80 seconds in the women’s 200m twice this season, and despite the performances falling outside of the qualifying window, she remains confident that she will eventually qualify.
Strachan was one of the few Bahamian elite athletes still competing this year despite the uncertainties brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic. She took part in all seven of the Velocity Fest meets in Jamaica before going to Europe to finish her season in the Diamond League meets in Rome, Italy, and Doha, Qatar.