By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
THE record-breaking performances by quarter-milers Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Steven Gardiner should bode well for the future of track and field for the Bahamas on the international scene.
To have two competitors performing at such a high level under the same management - On Track Management - albeit with different coaches, speaks volumes for their progression from one year to the next.
And although this is slightly a relatively light year with the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia, as the highlight, we should possibly see both of them emerging on top of the podium as they pursue the 200/400 metres double.
Last year, Miller-Uibo tested the waters as she competed in the IAAF World Championships in London, England. She was on course for an earth-shattering performance in the 400m final, leading a talented field through the first 350m, only to stumble and lose her ground as she faded into fourth place.
Possibly a Bahamian national record? Maybe even coming closer than anybody else to the elusive world record?
Those questions were not answered as she watched it all slip away on the giant jumbotron. After recuperating, Miller-Uibo rebounded to take a bronze medal in the 200m, ensuring that she at least left the championships with some hardware.
No doubt, the outcome of the gruelling one-lap race took its toll on her mentally as she completed the half-lap race in another jammed packed field.
A month later in the space of a week, Miller-Uibo was back to her usual self as she ended the year in a dominating fashion, claiming the Golden League’s newly instituted year ending on top of the podium in the 200 and 400.
Gardiner, on the other hand, became the first Bahamian to dip under the 44-second barrier in running away with his semi-final of the men’s 400m at the World Championships. He may have gone out a little too hard because his performance could have earned him the gold medal in the final, but he had to settle for the silver behind world record holder Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa. And even though there was some fuss about him not running in the preliminaries of the men’s 4 x 400m relay, it showed that Gardiner might not have been fully recovered as he slipped and fell coming out of the blocks in the Golden League final, ending his season on a disappointing note.
Fast forward to 2018 and even though they may not compete in the IAAF World Indoor Championships next month in London, England. Gardiner’s opener turned out to be a sensational one as he shattered the meet record in the men’s 300m last month in Birmingham, Alabama. Not to be outdone, Miller-Uibo’s opener was even more glaring as she equalised the women’s 300m world record last week in New York.
Their manager Claude Bryan said this was just the tip of the iceberg and even though Gardiner will definitely not compete in London, Miller-Uibo’s decision will be made by next week. But he assured the public that the two quarter-milers will certainly be on their way “Down Under” in Australia for the Commonwealth Games.
SUPER BOWL PARTY
I wish to take this opportunity in this column to express my gratitude to Ed Fields and Katie Longley of Atlantis for hosting members of the press at a Super Bowl Party on Sunday night. It was a night to remember as we viewed one of the most exciting games in the National Football League’s grand season finale.
The gathering to watch the game was another effort by the Public Relations Department of the hotel to show their appreciation to the media for their assistance in covering the many events that are held at the top resort on Paradise Island.
While we had a table all to ourselves at times, during the course of the game, we got to mix and mingle with some of the guests and the staff, who had their own opinion on who would win and how the outcome of the game would unfold.
I know I made a prediction that the Philadelphia Eagles would have emerged as the champions by two touchdowns. The score was a little off, but they finally broke the jinx and won their franchise first title, dethroning the New England Patriots.
And as expected, one of the highlights for me was watching the commercials. I really didn’t miss any, so it was quite a night sharing with some of my collegiates from the various other media houses, including Marcellus Hall, Sheldon Longley and Kermit Taylor.
Hope we can do it again, if not for the National Basketball Association’s All-Star weekend, maybe for one of the championship games.
I think we have trusted the process long enough, so it would be great to see my Philadelphia 76ers making their presence felt in the postseason for the City of Brotherly Love.
Thank God we got through the NBA trade deadline on Thursday without any major disruption to what could be a talented young team to watch in the future, led by the 1-2 punch from centre Joel Embiid and guard Ben Simmons.
I think the management team truly understands that they have to trust the process.