Bahamian runs personal best time but comes up short of making history
TyNia Gaither was looking to make history last night by becoming the first Bahamian to ever advance to the final of the women’s 200 meters (m) at three successive world outdoor championships, but it wasn’t meant to be for the speedy Grand Bahamian as she was up against a tough field of competitors and fell short.
The women’s 200m semis was one of the featured events on the track at the 18th World Athletics (WA) Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, USA, last night.
Despite running a personal best time of 22.41 seconds, Gaither fell short of one of her goals of advancing to the final of the women’s 200m. She was fifth in her semifinal heat and finished 11th overall.
Out on an island in lane eight in the first of three semifinal heats, Gaither knew she had to get out of the blocks quickly and run the race of her life last night. She did that and still failed to advance to the final. The 29-year-old veteran sprinter came off the bend in good position, but couldn’t keep up with top end sprinters Shericka Jackson, of Jamaica, and others, on the home stretch.
Jackson won that heat in a blazing 21.68 seconds, easing up at the tape. Aminatou Seyni, of Niger, was second in that semifinal heat in 22.04 seconds. Mujinga
Kambundji, of Switzerland, ran a national record of 22.05 seconds for third in that semifinal heat. American Jenna Prandini was fourth in 22.08 seconds. Gaither had to settle for fifth. She ran 22.61 seconds in the heats and a personal best time of 22.41 seconds in the semis.
Led by Jackson, five of the women in the semis ran under 22 seconds last night, and the final non-automatic qualifying time was a Swiss national record of 22.05 seconds by Kambundji. Prandini’s fast time of 22.08 seconds wasn’t even good enough to make the final.
“I’m with the world’s best and times are getting faster and faster. They pushed me to a PB (personal best time), so I’m very happy with that,” said Gaither to reporters last night.
Gaither had to finish in the top two in her semifinal heat or be among the next two fastest non-automatic qualifiers to have a chance to run in the final. Sadly for Gaither, that wasn’t the case. She had finished eighth in the women’s 200m at the last two world championships, in London, England, in 2017, and Doha, Qatar, in 2019, sharing a Bahamian record of two successive world finals in that event with the legendary Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie who did it twice in her illustrious career.
As for Gaither, her world championships experience is now over, unless coaches in Eugene decide to give her a leg in the women’s 4x400m relay, which gets underway on Saturday. Gaither false started in the semifinals of the women’s 100m and was 11th overall in the women’s 200m.
“I’ll take a few days off and then head over to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games. Also, I have a few more races in Europe and then I’ll shut it down after that. NACAC is too tight, so I don’t think I will do that, but I’m looking forward to completing the season,” said Gaither.
The 2022 Commonwealth Games is set for July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham, England, and the 2022 North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Track and Field Championships is set for August 19-21 in Gaither’s hometown of Freeport, Grand Bahama.
Strong hope for a medal for The Bahamas at the worlds, particularly a gold, still lie in the legs of two-time Olympic Champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo in the women’s 400m. Miller-Uibo will be the only member of Team Bahamas in action today, competing in the semifinals of the women’s 400m. She will run out of lane six in the first of three semifinal heats at 9:45 p.m. this evening. Just the top two finishers in each heat and the next two fastest times will advance to Friday’s final.
Miller-Uibo cruised through the first round heats, easily winning her race in a modest 51.10 seconds. She goes into the semis with the ninth-fastest time out of the heats and is an overwhelming favorite to get through the semis and win the gold in the final. Miller-Uibo is still looking for her first world outdoor title.
Also competing for The Bahamas this week will be Devynne Charlton in the women’s 100m hurdles, Ken Mullings in the men’s decathlon and the women’s 4x400m relay team.
The Bahamas has won at least one medal at every world athletics championships since 2013, and has won 25 medals in the history of the championships – eight gold, nine silver and eight bronze.
This is the first time the world championships are being held on US soil in the 39-year history of the event. A total of 1,972 athletes from 192 countries are competing.