Just one spectacular run from an amazing young athlete stood possibly between the World Athletics Senior Female Athlete of the Year Award and our own Shaunae Miller-Uibo this year, and with that in mind, it was hard not to vote for her for that honor from this medium.
She was a unanimous selection, running away with The Nassau Guardian’s Senior Female Athlete of the Year honor for 2019.
Once again, Miller-Uibo achieved lofty goals and exceeded expectations this season, only missing out on a gold medal at the 17th International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships in Doha, Qatar, which might have cemented her as the senior female athlete of the year worldwide and reassured her legacy as the greatest Bahamian female sprinter ever.
Right now, a world title remains the only accolade to elude her in her illustrious career, but she is just 25-years-old, and barring unforeseen circumstances, will undoubtedly have more opportunities in the future. Miller-Uibo is expected to defend her Olympic title in the women’s 400 meters (m) next year.
Miller-Uibo re-established herself as arguably the best 200-400m female runner in the world this season – going unbeaten in both events for much of the season and achieving targets. In fact, up until the 400m final at the world championships, she had not lost a race in any of her events in over two years.
Miller-Uibo was so dominant in both events all season, that for much of the season, it was unknown what event she would compete in at the Doha World Championships. Due to a tight schedule, it was physically impossible for her to do both, but she was still a gold medal favorite for either event. Miller-Uibo decided on the longer race, despite running more 200s this past season, and Bahraini Salwa Eid Naser had the race of her life to upset Miller-Uibo in the final. She ran the third-fastest time ever, 48.14 seconds, for the gold in Doha.
Miller-Uibo was exceptional in defeat, recording a new Bahamian national record, new area record, and going down as the sixth-fastest in history with a clocking of 48.37 seconds. In the 200m, she had a personal best national record run of 21.74 seconds this year, putting her in a four-way tie for 11th in history.
On the track, Miller-Uibo won eight out of nine events this year, with her only setback coming in Doha. She won her third straight Diamond League title in the women’s 200m, and fourth in total, in Zürich, Switzerland, stopping the clock in her new national record time of 21.74 seconds, putting her just outside out the top 10 in history.
There are some who expected Miller-Uibo to contest the 200m in Doha, and given the turn of events, she likely would have won gold. Be that as it may, she proved this year that she is top flight in both. Miller-Uibo still has her 200m unbeaten streak going. She has won a dozen straight races in that event, dating back to the London World Championships in 2017.
The 400m has always been her preferred race though. Given her trajectory in that event over the past two years, certainly no one could blame her and her team for choosing to contest that event in Doha. It’s just that a spectacular unexpected run by Naser kept Miller-Uibo off the top rung at the world championships, yet again.
Miller-Uibo goes into 2020 focused on getting better and producing more great results for The Bahamas. The sky is the limit for her.
Another 25-year-old Bahamian star, Jonquel Jones, re-established herself as one of the greatest female basketball players in the world and was second in voting for The Nassau Guardian’s Senior Female Athlete of the Year honor for 2019. She once again put up fantastic numbers in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) season once again, leading the Connecticut Sun to the WNBA Finals where they took league Most Valuable Player (MVP) Elena Delle Donne and the Washington Mystics to the limit before falling in five games.
Jones started all 34 games for the Sun in the regular season, averaging 14.6 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. She once again led the league in rebounding and was 12th in scoring. Jones was a WNBA all-star for the second time in three years, made the All-WNBA Second Team for the second time in three years, and was a MVP candidate for much of the season.
She led the Sun to a 23-11 win-loss record and the number two seed in the playoffs, receiving a double bye to the semi-finals. In the semi-finals, the Sun swept the Los Angeles Sparks three games to none to advance to the WNBA Finals, making it the franchise’s first finals appearance since 2005. Jones averaged 14.33 points and 9.33 rebounds in that short series against Candace Parker and the Sparks. She went on to average 19.2 points and 11 rebounds in the finals, including a huge 32-point 18-rebound effort in game two of that series. In the fifth and deciding game, Jones had 25 points and nine rebounds.
Tynia Gaither, who advanced to the final of the women’s 200m for the second consecutive outdoor world championships, finished third in voting for The Nassau Guardian’s Senior Female Athlete of the Year honor for 2019. The 26-year-old sprinter, who won a bronze medal in that event at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, this year, was eighth again in the final of that event at the world championships.
Swimmer Laura Morley finished fourth in voting for The Nassau Guardian’s Senior Female Athlete of the Year honor for 2019, and hurdler Pedrya Seymour and bodybuilding & fitness athlete Shakira Ferguson finished tied for fifth.
The full breakdown of points for senior female athletes in The Bahamas as voted on by The Nassau Guardian’s Sports Team is listed with this article.
1st – Shaunae Miller-Uibo (athletics) – 30 points
2nd – Jonquel Jones (basketball) – 27 points
3rd – Tynia Gaither (athletics) – 23 points
4th – Laura Morley (swimming) – 17 points
5th – Pedrya Seymour (athletics) – 12 points
5th – Shakira Ferguson (bodybuilding & fitness) – 12 points
7th – LaTonya Moss (special olympics) – 7 points
7th – Kerrie Cartwright (tennis) – 7 points
9th – Tamara Myers (athletics) – 6 points
9th – Je’Nae Saunders (volleyball) – 6 points
Others receiving votes: Lorraine Lafleur (bodybuilding & fitness) – 5, Sasha Wells (athletics) – 4, Charisma Taylor (athletics) – 3, Joanna Evans (swimming) – 3, Valerie Nesbitt (basketball) – 2 and Thela Johnson (softball) – 1.