IN another season’s best performance, Bahamian sprinter Anthonique Strachan improved on her previous finish to complete her two track and field meets in Europe this weekend.
Competing at the final Wanda Diamond League meet on Friday at the Qatar Sport Club Stadium, which should have kicked off the season in May but postponed because of the coronavirus, Strachan posted a fifth place in the women’s 100 metres in a time of 11.42 seconds.
Jamaican Olympic double sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah once again took the tape in 10.87, well ahead of multiple World Championship medallist Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast, who did 11.21. American Kayla White was third in 11.25 and Great Britain’s Kristal Awuah was fourth in 11.27.
Just a week before that at the 40th edition of the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea, the Italian leg of the Wanda Diamond League, which took place in the Olympic Stadium in Rome, Strachan had to settle for ninth place in the century in a matching time of 11.42.
Thompson-Herah established a world-leading time of 10.85 to snatch the gold in a sterling performance over American Aleia Hobbs, who was second in 11.12 just ahead of third place Ta Lou in 11.14.
The two meets in Rome and Doha were a part of the four stops in this year’s Wanda Diamond League, which included Monaco and Stockholm. The other meets in Eugene, London, Paris, Rabat, Gateshead and Shanghai were all cancelled as the coronavirus swept through the world in March.
Prior to going to Europe, Strachan competed in a series of six meets in Jamaica where she trains with Thompson-Herah in the MVP - Maximising Velocity and Power Track Club.
“It was good. I was satisfied with it. I ended it with a season’s best,” said Strachan on her return from Europe. “I was really excited about the race. I got a decent start and so overall, it was good. I can’t complain about anything.”
It was even more gratifying in the coronavirus crisis that Strachan got a chance to face some of the top competitors in the world in this abbreviated track season.
“It was exciting to be at those meets, especially with all of the lanes being filled and the atmosphere was a taste of normalcy,” Strachan said. “It was just good to be competing over there.”
Looking back at her performances, Strachan said she realised that she didn’t have the foot speed for the straight away race, considering the fact that she is more concentrated on competing in her specialty in the longer 200m.
“I wished I had a few more hundred races to run in Europe, but the season has come to an end in Europe. It just showed that I am in great shape and I finished the season healthy without any real injuries,” she reflected.
“So I’m really excited because it showed me that 2021 could be a really great year, if I stay injury free and I put my mind to it and I work really hard at it.”
Coming off a grade two hamstring tear at last year’s World Championships in Doha, Strachan said she doesn’t want to look too far ahead to next year, so she’s just going to relish the time she has off because she picks up her off season in a few weeks.
“I’m just going to do a little recovery and jot down some things that I need to prepare my body for the offseason training,” she stated. “I just want to enjoy the little off time that I have right now.”
The 27-year-old graduate of St Augustine’s College is hoping that she can get back to the top form she was in when she won the Austin Sealy Award for the second consecutive year at the CARIFTA Games in Hamilton, Bermuda, with a double victory in the 100 and 200m.
She capped off that year by duplicating the pair of sprint feats at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
And she was eventually named the Rising Star of the Year at the IAAF Gala Awards Banquet in Monaco.
Although she went on to represent the Bahamas at both the IAAF World Championships and the Olympic Games over the next few years, Strachan is still looking for her breakthrough in the final at the senior level.
She did team up with Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Steven Gardiner and Michael Mathieu to win the gold in the debut of the mixed gender 4 x 400m relay at the IAAF World Relays at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium in 2017.
But Strachan is still looking for her first medal as a senior athlete, either as an individual or a relay team member and feels the move to Jamaica to train a year ago was a step in the right direction.