By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
TWO-time Olympic champion Shaunae Miller- Uibo got out fast enough that she had more than enough real estate between the rest of the field for her to cruise home in the heats of the women’s 400 metres at the World Athletics’ 2022 World Championships.
On day three of the championships at the Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, the first time its ever been staged in the United States, Miller-Uibo clocked 51.10 seconds as they established control of the first of six heats to finish with the ninth fastest qualifying time going into Wednesday’s semi-finals with the final on Friday.
Aliyah Abrams of Guyana managed to close in as Miller-Uibo eased up, looking from side to side at her competitors behind her, for second place in 51.69. But the biggest surprise was that American Kendal Ellis had to settle for sixth in 52.55 to miss out on a spot in the semi-final.
Jamaican Stephenie Ann McPherson had the fastest qualifying time in 50.15, a season’s best in heat two.
The 28-year-old Miller- Uibo said in a brief interview on television from Eugene after the race that the goal was to get through the round as easy as possible and get ready for the next round, but the ultimate goal is to win the gold.
The gold slipped away from her in 2019 in Doha, Qatar when Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser pulled off a stunning victory. Miller- Uibo’s performance Sunday morning kept the Bahamas in the limelight after defending champion Steven Gardiner withdrew from the men’s 400m field with an injury.
But there was also some drama for Team Bahamas on Sunday night as national champion Tynia Gaither, running out of lane two, got disqualified for a false start in the last of three heats of the women’s 100m semi-finals.
Gaither, 29, protested to the officials on the track and was showed the replay on the monitor before the race was restarted. As she was escorted off the track and saw the replay on the television screen, she could be heard saying: “I didn’t move” as she pointed in disgust over the decision.
Just before her race, Anthonique Strachan, the 28-year-old national runner-up, slipped at the start, but rebounded for fifth place in her semi-final of the women’s 100m in dropping her lifetime best from 10.99 to 10.98, but it was only good enough for fifth place and 10th place overall.
The eighth and final spot for the final was achieved by Mujinga Kambundji of Switzerland in 10.96 with Britain’s Daryll Neita also denied a spot with her ninth place finish in 10.97.
“I like it so far. I got a PB (personal best) out of it,” Strachan told the reporters in the mixed zone. “I ran in a nice heat. I gave my all in the semis. That’s all I could ask for.”
On day two on Saturday, Strachan picked up a third place finish in her heat in 11.08 for the 13th fastest qualifying performance, while Gaither followed with a fourth place in heat two in 11.16 for a three-way tie for 19 to also advance to Sunday’s semis.
Today, the competition will continue with the six heats of the women’s 200m with Gaither running out of lane eight in the fourth heat with Britain’s Dina Asher- Smith going in lane two and Strachan will also be in lane eight in the last heat that will feature American Jenna Prandini in four.
“Strachan, the runner-up to Miller-Uibo in the 200m at the nationals, said the shake out in the 100m should really prepare her for her specialty in the 200m.
“It was really a good look for me in the 100m because I’m a better 200m runner than the 100m,” Strachan said. “So I’m excited about it and see how tomorrow (today) goes for me in my 200m opener.”
The first three of each heat and the next four fastest times will advance to the semi-finals on Tuesday to book a lane in the final set to be staged on Thursday.
On day one on Friday in the mixed 4 x 400m relay, 24-year-old Bradley Dormeus, running a split of 47.94, 20-year-old Megan Moss (52.23), 30-year-old Bahamian Alonzo Russell (43.80) and 21-year-old Doneisha Anderson (53.76) finished seventh in three minutes and 19.73 seconds.
The team finished in 15th place with the two heats combined.
Grand Bahamian Donald Thomas, the 38-year-old 2007 world champion, bowed out of the qualifying rounds of the men’s high jump with a leap of 7-feet, 3-inches or 2.21 metres for a tie in 12th place in Group B and 23rd overall.
In the evening session on day one, 25-year-old Samson Colebrooke was the only competitor to show up in the heats of the men’s 100m. He placed fifth in heat five in 10.23 for 39th place overall.
Grand Bahamian native Terrence Jones Jr was also scheduled to compete, but he didn’t.
The only other competitor in action on Friday night was 25-year-old LaQuan Nairn in the qualifying round of the men’s long jump. He soared 25-7 1/4 (7.80m) for 10th in Group B and 18th overall.
Still waiting to compete for Team Bahamas are Devynne Charlton, 26, in the women’s 100m hurdles and Ken Mullings, 25, in the men’s decathlon - those events will be staged over the final two days of competition - along with the women’s 4 x 400m relay.