By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
With another triple crown to her ledger, Bahamian quarter-miler Shaunae Miller-Uibo emerged as The Tribune’s 2022 Female Athlete of the Year.
As sports returned to full strength on the international scene after the two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 28-year-old Miller- Uibo produced three major championship feats that enabled her 6-foot, 1-inch frame to stand out among the rest of the Bahamian female athletes.
Another dominating figure, Jonquel Jones would have emerged at number two on the top five list, but she had to follow the trend in track and field that saw some defining moments from the diminutive hurdler Devynne Charlton and sprinter Tynia Gaither.
Sprinter Anthonique Strachan, regaining glimpses of her younger self on the world stage, capped off the year, controlled by track and field athletes with the fifth spot and some added recognition off the track as a spokesperson.
Champion - Shaunae Miller-Uibo
After bringing her team-mates to a training camp in January, Miller-Uibo returned to the World Indoor Championships for some unfinished business.
Miller-Uibo snatched her first gold medal in the 400 metres in 50.31 seconds in Belgrade, Serbia on March 19 to improve on the bronze she achieved in her initial appearance in 2014 in Sopot, Poland.
She accomplished another first at the first World Championships to be held in the United States in Eugene, Oregon on July 22 to snatch her first gold in 49.11 – adding to a pair of silver medals and a fourth place in the 400 and a bronze and fourth in the 200 in four previous championships from 2013.
And to top off her year, Miller-Uibo came home, albeit in Grand Bahama, for her successful debut at the North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships (NACAC) with a meet record breaking performance of 49.40 on August 20.
She was named as one of the 10 nominees by the international panel of athletics experts for World Athletics’ 2022 Women’s Athlete of the Year.
She fell short in the voting process but was one of three athletes added to the recreation of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture’s Legends Walk of Fame outside the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium. The other two were Strachan and men’s quarter-miler Steven Gardiner.
Runner-up - Devynne Charlton
Back at full strength in her first full season on the international scene, Devynne Charlton emerged during the spotlight that was placed on the women’s 100m hurdles with Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan leading the way with a quadruple feat at the World, Diamond League, Commonwealth Games and African Championships, while establishing a world record of 12.12 seconds in the semi-finals at the World Championships.
The 27-year-old Charlton had a record-breaking performance of her own when she lowered the Bahamian women’s national 100m hurdles mark to 12.60 with her victory at the BAAA Nationals in June at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium.
The performance came after Charlton earned her first World Athletics’ Indoor Championships with her silver in March.
Following her trip home, Charlton had to settle for seventh at the World Championships in July where she dropped her previous national record to 12.53.
From there, Charlton went on to ascend the podium again at the Commonwealth Games with another silver in her specialty. And to top it off, Charlton headed to Grand Bahama where she was a double medallist at the NACAC Championships, claiming a bronze in the 100m hurdles and ran the opening leg on the 4 x 100m relay team that picked up the silver.
After getting the baton from Strachan on the second leg, Charlton got to display her versatility on the final bend to help ignite Gaither in her brilliant come-from-behind performance on the home stretch where the celebrations began. Not to be left out, although she didn’t make the top list, was Printassia Johnson, who got the team off on the first leg in the revival of the women’s relay on the international scene.
Third place finisher - Tynia Gaither
The 29-year-old Grand Bahamian made a strong push for one of the top spots when she emerged as one of the international medal winners during what has been a banner year for female track and field athletes.
After earning the century title at the BAAA National Championships in June, Gaither made it to the semi-finals of the World Championships in Eugene in July where she ran her lifetime best of 22.41.
That seemed to have sparked her interest and rejuvenated her commitment to shine, finishing seventh in the 100m at the Commonwealth Games in August in Birmingham.
But the dual sprinter didn’t rest on her laurels as she went back home and landed, not just one, but a pair of silver medals at the NACAC Championships.
Before the home crowd at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex, Gaither didn’t disappoint the fans as she surged to her first medal with the silver in the 200m. On that same day, she had a sensational anchor leg on the aforementioned 4 x 100m relay that brought the Bahamas from fourth to silver.
Fourth place finisher - Jonquel Jones
Jones, the 28-year-old Grand Bahamian 6-6 power forward, continued to shine in the Women’s National Basketball Association with the Connecticut Sun where she posted an average of 14.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in the 33 games she played in.
In what turned out to be another stellar individual performance in her sixth year in the league as the number six pick, Jones made her fourth WNBA All-Star game (2017, 2019 and 2021), her third All- WNBA second team (2017 and 2019) and her first WNBA All-Defensive second team.
After the season was completed, Jones left the United States to reunite with her teammates with UMMC Ekaterinburg of the Russian League.
Jones ended up joining the Turkish team Cukurova Basketbol, which participates in the Women’s Basketball Super League and she’s a member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team that she participated for in the EuroBasket Women’s Tournament.
Fifth place finisher - Anthonique Strachan
Her decision to remain in Jamaica to train with the MVP Track Club has paid off for the 29-year-old Strachan, who showed flashes of her old self when she was named the IAAF’s Rising Star in 2012.
Shaking off a series of injuries that hindered her progress in between those years, Strachan became the seventh Bahamian female to dip under the 11-second barrier in the 100m when she clocked 10.98 in the semi-finals at the World Championships in Eugene in July.
Although she didn’t complete the year as she did in her most impressive year in 2012 when she earned the sweep of the Under- 20 World Championships’ 100m and 200m, Strachan closed out the year on the podium with her fellow members of the 4 x 100m team at the NACAC Championships in Grand Bahama in August.
Strachan, who already serves as the athletes’ representative for the BAAA, was elected to serve as one of the Members-At-Large for the NACAC Athletes’ Commission during the NACAC Championships.
Joining Strachan on the board are O’Dayne Richards of Jamaica, who was elected to serve as the chairperson, along with Jehue Gordon from Trinidad & Tobago, Ayanna Morgan from Barbados, William Leer from the United States of America and Kurt Felix of Grenada.