By Brent Stubbs
Senior Sports Reporter
TYNIA Gaither, one of the leading ladies in the Bahamian short sprints, was hoping that the 2020 Olympic Games would have still taken place in Tokyo, Japan, in July. But she’s thrilled to know that it’s just being postponed until 2021 and not cancelled.
This would have been Gaither’s second appearance at the greatest four-yearly multiple games, but the International Olympic Committee and the Japan Organising Committee jointly agreed yesterday to postpone the games due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is scary, but I’m still in shock about everything that is happening because everything is happening so fast,” said Gaither of the virus that now has her confined to home in Houston, Texas, as of Tuesday night. “I know decisions have to be made that is in the best interest of everybody.”
Like some of the athletes, the biggest decision that Gaither had to endure is the announcement that the 2020 Olympics have been postponed to the summer of 2021.
“I believe that if everybody was able to train properly and everything wasn’t closed down so that we could have gone out there and performed, the games could have still gone on,” said Gaither, who was looking to compete again after making her Olympic debut in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“But I can only speak for myself because all of the gyms have been closed down for about two weeks and I couldn’t do any lifting, so it’s rough. I guess because of that, it’s probably in the best interest of all the athletes to have the games postponed.”
Under the supervision of coach Eric Francis, Gaither was working out about twice a day for the past two weeks as she was trying to catch up before things shut down. According to her, everything was going very well and she was getting in a position where she was getting back on track.
However, Gaither said she will just have to wait until the coronavirus crisis is passed before she can refocus her concentration on training and eventually competing again later this year in preparation now for the 2021 Olympics.
“I was supposed to start competing overseas in May, but those meets have been pushed back to the summer. That is what they are saying now,” Gaither said. “But for now, all I can do is just rest and wait to get back in training after this coronavirus is passed over.”
In preparation for Tokyo, Gaither did about four meets in Europe during the indoor season in February. She had a season’s best of 7.13 seconds in the 60 metres in Poland. Her last meet was on February 19 in France.
While she’s riding it out in Houston, Gaither said they’re not too happy about staying indoors, but they all know that they have to do what is best for everybody. She said she has to be confined to the same situation in Houston, so she’s just hoping that this will pass without any major disruption of lives.
Gaither, who just turned 27 on March 16 as she celebrated on a three-day cruise with her mother, Sabrina Johnson, didn’t advance out of the heats of the century in Rio, but she went on to make it to the semi-finals in the half-lap race in the 200m.
Since then, she went on to advance to the final of the 200m in her debut at the 2017 World Athletics’ World Outdoor Championships in London, England where she was eighth, while Shaunae Miller-Uibo got a bronze after she ended up fourth in the 400m in her bid for the 200/400m double.
In 2018 at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Championships in Toronto, Canada, Gaither placed sixth in the 200m. Last year, she picked up a bronze medal in the 200m at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
She concluded the season in her second trip to the World Outdoor Championships in Doha, Qatar, where she got back to the final of the 200m and once again, history repeated itself as Gaither had to settle for eighth place.
Unfortunately. Miller-Uibo concentrated just on the 400m where she got the silver medal.
Gaither has produced lifetime bests of 11.21 in the 100m from 2015 in Los Angeles, California and 22.61 in the 200m Fayetteville, Arkansas in 2014 during the outdoor season.
Her personal best times in indoors are set are 7.23 in the 60m in Seattle, Washington in 2015 and 23.11 in the 200m in Fayetteville.
Currently on the World Athletics’ list, Gaither is sitting at No. 37 in the world in the 100m and 11th in the 200m.