TOKYO, Japan – One of the biggest question marks coming into these Olympics was who would run the women’s 200 meters (m)?
There are four qualifiers but only three can run. Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Brianne Bethel, Tynia Gaither and Anthonique Strachan all went under the qualifying standard of 22.80 seconds in the qualifying period, with Strachan being the latest one, accomplishing that feat at the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) Junior and Senior National Track and Field Championships at the end of June.
At the moment, it is understood that Strachan would be the odd person out as she has the slowest time of the four during the qualifying period. However, she did everything that was asked of her, and should be in line to represent her country in that event at these Olympics, according to BAAA rules.
Strachan came home and ran at nationals, posted a qualifying time and finished in the top three. Miller-Uibo won the women’s 200m at nationals and is the standard bearer for The Bahamas in that event at the Olympics, while Gaither ran the 100m at nationals and not the 200m, and Bethel didn’t run.
The Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) earlier stated that a decision would be made with the best interest of The Bahamas in mind, essentially saying that the three leading runners will get an opportunity to run at the Olympics, but that decision has caused an uproar in local track and field circles, with a number of coaches and officials coming in defense of Strachan.
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, Japan, and it is understood that the final decision of who will run for The Bahamas will be made at the final scratch meeting, which is set for sometime this week.
Chef de Mission of Team Bahamas Cora Hepburn said that is not their focus at the moment, as swimming is ongoing.
“Track starts on the 30th. Right now, our priority is getting the athletes safely into Tokyo,” said Hepburn over the weekend. “Our focus at this time is on the swimmers. We have two swimmers in action and we are focused on them at the moment.”
Be that as it may, the athletics portion of the Olympics is not far away, set to start this Friday at the Japan National Stadium. A number of them are in Tokyo already, and they will begin training this week.
Strachan said she is preparing as if she will run but is understanding that she will be the reserve athlete for that event.
“After I was given the spot to run, on my way here, I learned different,” said Strachan. “ It’s disappointing but it is what it is. Even up to this point, I can’t get a straight answer from anyone.”
There was set to be a meeting on Saturday between BOC President Romell “Fish” Knowles and coaches in the Bahamas Association of Athletic Coaches (BAAC) to discuss the matter in depth before the final entries are submitted, but that never transpired.
Now, it’s approaching deadline hour and still there is no resolution. According to BAAA rules, Strachan should be lining up on the track in the women’s 200m at these Olympics, but the BOC is in charge of Team Bahamas and all matters of team structure and privilege must go through Chef de Mission Hepburn who is remaining mum on the issue at the moment.
Strachan said if she is not chosen to run the 200m, it’s likely that she will not run the relay as well. She is one of the four ladies who helped The Bahamas qualify a relay team in the women’s 4x400m relay. The quartet of Doneisha Anderson, Miller-Uibo, Megan Moss and Strachan, in that order, clocked 3:29.40 at the Blue Marlin Last Chance Meet at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium at the end of June – a time that placed them in the 16th and final qualifying spot for the Olympics.
There is a six-member pool for the women’s 4x400m for The Bahamas for these Olympics. Added to the pool are Bethel and high school athlete Lacarthea Cooper.
The team is the relay squad from The Bahamas that qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games.