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Miller-Uibo To Chase 400 Title At Ag Memorial Van Damme

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Shaunae Miller-Uibo wins the women's 200m followed by second placed Elaine Thompson of Jamaica, centre, and fourth placed Dafne Schippers of Netherlands, right, during the Weltklasse IAAF Diamond League international athletics meeting in the Letzigrund stadium in Zurich, Switzerland. (Walter Bieri/Keystone via AP)

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

WITH half of her mission complete, Shaunae Miller-Uibo will be in Brussels, Belgium, for the last half of the International Amateur Athletic Federation's Diamond League Final where she will try to add the 400 metre title to the 200m crown she secured a week ago in Zurich, Switzerland.

Coming off her national record-breaking performance of 21.88 seconds for the victory in the women's 200m and a hefty cash prize of $50,000 at the Weltklasse Zurich on Friday, Miller-Uibo will go after a repeat feat when she lines up in the 400m at the AG Memorial Van Damme this Friday.

"I'm expecting as always to compete," the 23-year-old Miller-Uibo told The Tribune. "It's going to be my last race for the season so I want to leave on a good note."

Going into the race, Miller-Uibo has the third (49.77 seconds), fourth (49.80) and fifth (49.86) fastest times that trail only Americans Allyson Felix (49.65) and Quanera Haynes (49.72), but none of them will be in Brussels. Instead, she will face one of the three women who came from behind as she faltered down the stretch at the IAAF World Championships in London, England, falling from the lead to fourth.

Salwa Naser, the silver medallist in London, will be among the field that will include three veteran Jamaican competitors - Novlene Williams-Mills, Sherica Jackson and Stephanie Ann McPherson. Also entered are Americans Natasha Hastings and Courtney Okolo. Lydia Jele from Botswana rounds out the field.

"It's going to be another great field of ladies, so hopefully we can put on another great show for the public," Miller-Uibo said.

If she is successful, Miller-Uibo will become the first female athlete to have won the 200/400m double in the history of the IAAF's year ending meet, which previously was the Golden League Final where athletes earned points and the top finisher, based on their points accumulated, carted off the overall title.

Under the previous format, only one Bahamian ever won a Golden League Final title and that was Tonique Williams in the women's 400m when she set the national record in the event (49.07) - a time she ran in Berlin on September 12, 2004.

Last Friday, Miller-Uibo matched Williams' feat when she won the 200m title in Zurich. She came off the final curve in fourth and powered from behind on the straight-away to pull off the win over Jamaican Olympic double sprint champion Elaine Thompson, World Championships double sprint silver medallist Marie-Josee Ta Lou from the Ivory Coast and 200m champion and 100m bronze medallist Dafne Schippers from the Netherlands.

"The race was fine. I just give God all the thanks and praise for everything," said Miller-Uibo, who got the bronze in London behind Schippers and Ta Lou.

Miller-Uibo, who was trying to attempt the 200/400m double at the World Championships, said while she had her share of disappointment in the 400m, it was a little more hurtful to watch in Zurich as Steven Gardiner slipped and fell coming out of the blocks of the men's 400m last Friday and was unable to complete the race.

"What happened to Steven was most unfortunate. I actually thought they were going to call the race back, but things like this happen," she said. "Fortunate enough, he is injury free and I think that is what's most important. He had a tremendous season and I'm sure that one hiccup won't bring him down."

Gardiner, the Abaco native who turns 22 on September 12, became the first Bahamian to crack the 44-second barrier when he ran 43.89 in the semi-finals at the World Championships to lower his national record.

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