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Will TyNia run at NACAC?

Bahamian sprinter says she doubts she will compete at area championships in Freeport

From Eugene, Oregon, to Birmingham, England, to Chorzów, Poland, and finally to Székesfehérvár, Hungary, it’s been a busy three weeks for Bahamian sprinter TyNia Gaither, and now it appears that she can finally get some rest before heading home.

The Bahamian speedster has been named to Team Bahamas for the 4th North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Track and Field Championships, set for next weekend at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex in Freeport, Grand Bahama, but the question is, will she run? Gaither has already said she doubts she will compete because of a compacted schedule.

Gaither, 29, hails from Freeport, Grand Bahama, and is regarded as the best female sprinter to come from the nation’s second city. So, one would naturally expect that she would want to run at home in Freeport in the first ever area championships to be held in The Bahamas. Additionally, a victory would give her a wildcard entry into next year’s World Athletics Outdoor Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Gaither is listed to run the 100 and 200 meters (m) in Freeport, as well as the women’s 4x100m relay. She is a part of a 30-member team that will represent The Bahamas here at home. However, it remains to be seen if Gaither will compete. Following NACAC, there are still a few more meets on the schedule in Europe before the Wanda Diamond League Final in Zurich, Switzerland, from September 7-8.

At her last event, a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold Meet, dubbed the Gyulai István Memorial – Hungarian Athletics Grand Prix Meet, in Székesfehérvár, Hungary, on Monday, Gaither finished fifth in the women’s 200m in 22.63 seconds. Jamaican Shericka Jackson, the second-fastest woman ever in that event, won in 22.02 seconds, Mujinga Kambundji, of Switzerland, finished second in 22.45 seconds, and American Kayla White rounded out the top three in 22.46 seconds. Another American, Tamara Clark, also finished ahead of Gaither, shopping the clock in fourth in 22.56 seconds.

This has been a phenomenal year for Gaither, coming close to her personal best time (PB) in the 100m and setting a new PB in the 200m. The latter has always been her preferred event – she is a two-time World Athletics Championships finalist in the 200m, just missing a third straight finals appearance in Eugene, Oregon, this year. Still, she was able to run PB of 22.41 seconds in the women’s 200m semifinals in Eugene.

In the 100m, Gaither’s personal best time is 11.02 seconds – just outside the 11-second barrier. She is number eight all-time among Bahamians in the women’s 100m and number seven all-time among Bahamians in the women’s 200m.

Just one other Bahamian was in action at the Bregyó Athletic Center in Székesfehérvár, Hungary, on Monday.

Donald Thomas, now 15 years removed from that world title in Osaka, Japan, finished tied for sixth in the men’s high jump, clearing 2.14m (7’ 0-1/4”). Gianmarco Tamberi, of Italy, won that event, clearing 2.24m (7’ 4-1/4”). Tobias Potye, of Germany, finished second. He also cleared 2.24m but lost to Tamberi based on number of knockdowns. Andriy Protsenko, of the Ukraine, finished third with a clearance of 2.18m (7’ 1-3/4”).

Meanwhile, Gaither apparently has her sights set on finishing the season strong by qualifying for the Wanda Diamond League Final in Zurich. Just the top eight athletes in each discipline will qualify for the final. Gaither is currently in a four-way tie for fifth place in the women’s 200m standings with 10 points – five from a fourth place finish in Stockholm, Sweden, at the end of June, and five from a fourth place finish in Chorzów, Poland, on Saturday past.

If Gaither stays in the top eight, she will earn a chance to compete in the final in Zurich, where she will have an opportunity to be crowned Wanda Diamond League Champion.

In the last three weeks, Gaither has run eight races – four rounds of the 100m and another four rounds of the 200m. Be that as it may, she continues to progress nicely through what has been one of her better seasons in athletics.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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