‘Speedy Stevie’ will be missed at Worlds
#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#Head coach Rupert Gardiner said it was devastating when he got the news that Steven ‘Speedy Stevie’ Gardiner will not be able to travel this week to Eugene, Oregon with Team Bahamas for the World Athletics’ 2022 World Championships.
#Not only was Gardiner – no direct relationship to Gardiner the team manager – to defend his title in the men’s 400 metres, but the Abaco native was also expected to play a pivotal role on the Bahamas’ mixed relay 4 x 400m relay team.
#“It wasn’t the type of news that we expected when we heard that he wasn’t going to travel,” said Gardiner, who along with some members of Team Bahamas were on their way to Oregon yesterday. “We didn’t expect to hear that kind of news.”
#Gardiner, the 26-year-old athlete, announced on his Instagram page on Monday that he will have to skip the World Championships, scheduled for July 15-24, because of UTE tendon inflammation to his right foot. He won the World Championship title in 2019 in Doha, Qatar and was coming off his gold medal performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics held last year in Japan.
#More importantly, manager Gardiner said they were looking to reunite the athlete Gardiner with two-time Olympic gold medallist Shaunae Miller- Uibo as the centrepieces of the Bahamas team in the mixed relay.
#“If he was there and he ran with Shaunae, we were looking for the team to go after the world record,” manager Gardiner said. “We would have had the two best quarter-milers in the world on the men and women side and all we had to do was add two more competitors to go along with them.”
#Grand Bahamian Alonzo Russell, Bradley Dormeus, Wayna McCoy, Anthonique Strachan, Megan Moss, Doneisha Anderson, Javonya Valcourt and Janae Ambrose are the others in the pool that manager Gardiner and the rest of the team personnel would have relied on to compete with the athlete Gardiner and Miller-Uibo.
#“We will miss him because he would have brought so much to the team,” the manager Gardiner said. “But we’re confident that with the team we have, the Bahamas will still have a credible team to compete for a medal.
#“We will have to put a lot of the focus on Shaunae, but we feel we have some athletes on the team who are capable of giving the Bahamas a legitimate shot at a medal. With Stevie, we would have been assured of the gold.”
#The athlete Gardiner and Miller-Uibo teamed up with Strachan and Grand Bahamian Michael Mathieu to secure the mixed relay gold medal at the World Relays in 2017, the last time World Athletics staged the event in the Bahamas at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium.
#Miller-Uibo, who is listed to compete in the both the 200 and 400m at the championships, is also in the women’s 4 x 400m relay pool with Strachan, Moss, Anderson, Valcourt and Ambrose. “We’re on our way to Eugene and once we have assembled the team, we will take a look at what our situation will be for the championships,” manager Gardiner said.
#“Obviously, we will have to make some adjustments to the team, but we won’t be able to deal with it until we have everybody in place. We just have to wait and see how everybody looks and feels when we get there, but we will definitely miss Stevie.”
#The athlete Gardiner continued in his tweet that he will now focus on getting the necessary treatment so that he can be 100 percent.
#“To the people of the Bahamas, my sponsors and my fans around the world, I’m sorry I won’t be able to compete,” Gardiner continued on social media. “I wish my rivals good health and the very best. Thanks for the support.”
#Manager Gardiner said they are wishing Gardiner a speedy recovery.
#Gardiner will also skip the Commonwealth Games, which will follow in Birmingham, England, July 29 to August 7.
#He was named by the Bahamas Olympic Committee to a 28-member team, including 11 track and field athletes, that will have Roy Colebrooke as the chef de mission