TOKYO, Japan – The plot thickens as it relates to the women’s 200 meters (m) for The Bahamas at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Shaunae Miller-Uibo is in, that is pretty much guaranteed, but the question remains, who will be the other two runners for The Bahamas?
Out of the remaining three, Anthonique Strachan was the only one who competed in that event at the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) Junior and Senior National Track and Field Championships at the end of June. She qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games at the nationals and finished in the top three, something that is a prerequisite for representing The Bahamas at the respective major international meet for that year, according to top BAAA officials, thereby giving credence to the nationals. However, Strachan has the slowest qualifying time among the three.
Tynia Gaither ran the 100m at the nationals but opted out of the 200m, apparently as a safety and precautionary measure in maintaining fitness. The other qualifier for The Bahamas, Brianne Bethel, didn’t compete at the nationals, apparently following a directive from her coach in nursing an injury. It is understood that she was granted an exemption by the BAAA.
All three are healthy and all three have high hopes of running the 200m for The Bahamas at the Olympics.
The Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) earlier stated that a decision would be made with the best interest of The Bahamas in mind. It has always maintained the view that the three leading runners would get an opportunity to run at the Olympics. That stance has caused an uproar in local track and field circles, with a number of coaches and officials coming in defense of Strachan.
A final decision won’t be made until the day before the event, but the picture got a bit more clearer on Tuesday as the entries for the women’s 200m were released.
Bahamian team officials have entered Miller-Uibo, Bethel and Gaither. Strachan is listed as a reserve.
However, that doesn’t mean that Miller-Uibo, Bethel and Gaither will run the women’s 200m for The Bahamas. Nothing is written in stone as yet, as national Olympic committees (NOCs) still have up until the day before an event to confirm an entry for that particular event.
Strachan has the slowest qualifying time, but did everything that was required of her to run that event in Tokyo, as mandated by her national federation.
However, the BAAA and its member body, the Bahamas Association of Athletic Coaches (BAAC), have no jurisdiction over the selection of athletes for any particular event at the Olympics. That privilege falls under the purview of the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC), specifically chef de mission of Team Bahamas here at the Olympics, Cora Hepburn.
She has shied away from the issue and despite having the final authority on the entry of athletes in the respective disciplines, it is understood that Hepburn is allowing the athletics management team of Team Bahamas – Head Coach Rudolph Ferguson and Manager Dawn Woodside-Johnson – to make the call on who will compete for The Bahamas in athletics at the Olympics.
Both Ferguson and Woodside-Johnson resigned as administrators of the BAAC on Tuesday, under strict directives from that body to do the “right thing” and allow Strachan to run the 200m in Tokyo. Failure to do so would result in “severe consequences” as stated by the BAAC in a communication to Ferguson and Woodside-Johnson.
At this moment, it’s still uncertain what call Ferguson and Woodside-Johnson intend to make, but it is confirmed that Strachan is listed as a reserve for that event in Tokyo.
Whether or not she remains a reserve athlete remains to be seen.
The heats of the women’s 200m at the Games of the 32nd Olympiad are set for Monday, August 2, at the Japan National Stadium in Tokyo (Sunday evening in The Bahamas).