By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
Bahamian double sprint national record holders Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Steven Gardiner made their 2019 Diamond League Circuit debuts in grand style at the Herculis EBS in Monaco on Friday.
The duo picked up where they left off on Tuesday at the Gyulai Istvan Memorial, a Hungarian Grand Prix meet in Szekesfehervar, and won their same events.
Miller-Uibo, with a lot more competition in the 200 metres, came off the curve in the half-lap race with the rest of the field that included World and Olympic champions and finalists.
But as the 2016 Olympic 400m champion and 2017 World Championship 200m bronze medalist stretched out her 6-foot, 1-inch with her pink hairstyle blowing in the wind, she accelerated ahead of them all to take the tape in her season's best of 22.09 seconds.
Jamaica's reigning 2016 Olympic 100/200m champion Elaine Thompson came the closest, but had to settle for second in 22.44, just ahead of Netherlands's Dafne Schippers, the 2017 world 200m champion and 2016 Olympic silver medalist, in 22.45. Ivory Coast's Marie-Josee Ta Lou, the 2017 world's 100/200 double silver medalist, was sixth in 22.66.
"I feel pretty good, like I did a good job out there," Miller-Uibo said. "I'm happy with how the race went. The quicker I get at 200m, the quicker I'd be at 400 and I'm really happy with where I'm at right now.
"My coach said he was very happy with how I ran the turn. If they can change the timetable for the Olympics, I'd be more than happy to double."
Miller-Uibo, 25, is hoping to have a change in the schedule so she can get at least a day's rest in between the 400 and 200 in Tokyo, Japan next year.
• After a false start that saw American Kahmani Montgomery disqualified, Gardiner regained his composure and moved away from the field in lane five, clocking 44.51 for his victory in the men's 400m.
The Abaco native pulled up on the side of Italy's Davide Re in lane six and took control of the one-lap race coming off the final curve. Abderrahman Samba tried to go with him, but Gardiner surged down the home stretch to leave his Qatar rival a distant second on the inside in lane three in 45.00 for second place.
American Nathan Strother was third out of lane two in 45.54 and Re finished fifth in 46.21.
"The false start, I almost covered 100-hundred metres, but I stopped when I saw everybody stop," Gardiner said. "I came back and re-focused and went again. That was a real 400m. I felt pretty good, season's best so I'm happy I got the win. Thank you Monaco."
The Bahamian national record holder at 43.87 was short of his season's best of 44.45 that he posted on Tuesday in Hungary where he made his first 400m debut for the 2019 season after running a series of 200m.
While this is his first Diamond League Meet for the year, 23-year-old Gardiner, who won the 2017 World Championships' 400m silver medal, is hoping to surpass the two victories he achieved in the last two years of the competition.
Also at the meet was Latario Collie-Minns in the men's triple jump. He finished at the bottom of the eight-man field with his best of three jumps record at 16.15 metres or 53-feet, 0-inches – well off his season's best of 17.04m (55-11).
The American 1-2 punch of 2017 World and 2016 Olympic champion Christian Taylor (17.82m/58-5 3/4) and 2017 World and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Will Claye (17.75m/58-3) took the top two spots.
Additionally, Pedrya Seymour was entered in the women's 100m hurdles. But she had a false start and was disqualified as American world record holder Kendra Harrison went on to win the race in a season's best of 12.43.
Miller-Uibo, Gardiner, Collie-Minns and Seymour are now expected home to complete in the Bahamas Association of Athletic Association's National Championships, July 26-28 at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex in Grand Bahama.
The event will serve as the final trials for athletes wishing to make the team heading to the IAAF World Championships, scheduled for September 27-October 6 in Doha, Qatar.