By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
STEVEN Gardiner, in his preparation for his return home for the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations' Aliv National Open Championship this weekend, pulled off another victory.
As the lone Bahamian competing in the Stockholm Diamond League on Father's Day yesterday, Gardiner clocked 44.58 seconds to pull off the win in the 400 metres over Baboloki Thebe from Boswana, who did 44.99.
One of Belgium's twin brothers, Kevin Borlee, finished third in a season's best of 45.47.
"I felt really good out there. It was a great race and I'm glad that I pulled off the victory," Gardiner told The Tribune in an interview after the race.
Gardiner, 22, is now listed at No.2 in the Diamond League ranking with 16 points. He is also listed at No.2 in the world on the performance chart with a season's best of 44.26 from the inaugural Grenada Invitational behind American Fred Kerley, who has done 43.70.
Running relaxed through the first portion of the race as he headed onto the back stretch, Gardiner said he was able to maintain his strength and was able to regroup as he went on to power himself to victory on the home stretch.
"The competition was good as always," Gardiner said. "I had a lot of good guys who I competed against, but I was able to pull through."
Gardiner's performance was short of his Bahamas national record of 44.26, but he said it wasn't as important s it was in securing the win.
"I felt pretty good about the time. I'm pretty happy," he said.
On Tuesday, Gardiner is expected to be back home. He will then make his trek to Grand Bahama for the BAAA's Aliv National Open Championship on Friday and Saturday at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex.
Gardiner, 22, is expected to defend hi title won last year in Nassau against some household names, including veterans Chris 'Firerman' Brown, Demetrius Pinder and Michael Mathieu.
The goal is to secure their tickets for London, England from August 5-13, either in the 400m or as a member of 4 x 400m relay team.
"I'm looking forward to coming home and competing very well this weekend," said Gardiner, who last competed in Grand Bahama when he was a member of the Moores Island High School team out of Abaco.
"I'm hoping that everybody will be there and we will put together a good race," Gardiner said. "I'm not focusing on any particular time. I just want to be able to compete very well."
With the event held on Father's Day, Gardiner expressed his gratitude to all those persons who assisted him in the past as a father-figure. He only asked that they continue to support him through their prayers as he follow his dream of being a world champion.