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Team Bahamas set for the world championships

There hasn’t been an official announcement as yet, but according to credible sources, The Bahamas’ team for the World Athletics (WA) Outdoor Championships has been named, and the man who has been tabbed as the head coach of the squad, is extremely optimistic.

Accordingly, a 17-member team will represent The Bahamas at the 18th edition of the World Athletics Championships, set for July 15-24 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, USA.

The team will be led by Olympic Champions Steven Gardiner and Shaunae Miller-Uibo, both competing in their specialty events – the men and women’s 400 meters (m). Miller-Uibo has also qualified in the women’s 200m.

Also named to the team are Anthonique Strachan (women’s 100/200m), TyNia Gaither (women’s 100/200m), Devynne Charlton (women’s 100m hurdles), Samson Colebrooke (men’s 100m), Terrence Jones (men’s 100m), LaQuan Nairn (men’s long jump), Donald Thomas (men’s high jump) and Ken Mullings (men’s decathlon).

The Bahamas is certainly blessed, as despite a shortage of legs producing optimum results in the individual events, despite a shortage of meets to compete in, and despite no participation in the 2021 World Athletics Relays from which automatic qualification would have certainly been feasible, the country finds itself in a tenable position of having two relay teams qualified – the women’s 4x400m and the mixed 4x400m relay. It is particularly gratifying since no relay team from The Bahamas competed at the last world championships in Doha, Qatar in 2019. Both teams ended the qualifying period in the final spot for entry into the global meet.

Named for relay purposes for the women are Megan Moss, Doneisha Anderson, Javonya Valcourt and Jenae Ambrose; for the men, Alonzo Russell, Bradley Dormeus and Wanya McCoy have been added.

The Head Coach of the team is Rupert Gardiner and he will be assisted by Shaun Miller (sprints) and James Rolle (jumps). Mabelene Miller is the Team Manager and she will be assisted by Dionne Britton who is also listed as the team’s COVID Liaison Officer. Dr. Cindy Dorsett is the Team Doctor and Pharez Cooper is the Team Therapist.

“I believe that we have assembled one of the better teams that we have put together in a very long time,” said BAAA President Drumeco Archer. “I am quite excited about the prospect of Team Bahamas. It’s an opportunity to see a transition in our athletics program. Our athletes have always performed well on the world stage and I believe that this will be no different. All-in-all, The Bahamas is growing new roots in track and field and we can expect some great performances.

“What I’m particularly proud about is that this will be the first time where we have a decathlete who will be representing The Bahamas at the world championships and I believe he will perform exceptionally well. I’m looking forward to him performing on the big stage,” added Archer. “With the relays, we are hopeful that Steven and Shaunae will lead the charge and we will see a return to glory.”

In the relays, this is the first time The Bahamas will compete in the mixed relay at the world championships, and with two of the fastest in their respective gender, optimism is high. Both the mixed relay and the women’s 4x400m relay squads would have qualified from times ran at the Blue Marlin Last Chance Meet in Nassau, The Bahamas, in June of 2021, holding on to the final qualifying spots – the mixed in 3:14.51 and the women in 3:29.40.

The Bahamas is a former global gold medalist in the mixed relay, winning at the 2017 World Athletics Relays in Nassau, The Bahamas.

Veteran coach Gardiner is receiving his first duty as head coach of a major international team in athletics – world championships or Olympics. He’s excited to get to work.

“I feel very good and it’s an honor to be the head coach of the team,” said Gardiner. “The make-up of the team is a good mixture of experience and young talent and that bodes well for us. I’m sure the qualifiers will do well in their individual events. Additionally, we have two relay quads and that is a good accomplishment. Our chances of winning multiple medals are great. Once we see the schedule, we could determine how to structure the team in terms of who will be running the relays, particularly the rounds of the relays, but I’m very excited. In the mixed relay, we won that event at the world relays in 2014 and three of the four legs who ran that relay will be in Eugene. We can run it back and do it again but we have to wait on the schedule to see how we will structure this. Our top athletes want to run – we just have to make sure they are prepared for their individual events and fit them into the relay as best as we could.

“Also, our young team members are very talented and I believe they have a great contribution to make. They have showed what they could do, and when you add them to veterans like Stevie and Alonzo, I like our chances. I’m optimistic that we will do extremely well. We’ll do our best.”

Gardiner said that he grades the team as a 9.5 out of 10.

The Bahamas has won at least one medal at every world athletics championships since 2013, and has won 25 medals in the history of the championships – eight gold, nine silver and eight bronze.

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