Gardiner pleased with his comeback

WORLD and Olympic champion Steven Gardiner said he is looking forward to getting back on top of the men’s standings in the 400 metres.

WORLD and Olympic champion Steven Gardiner said he is looking forward to getting back on top of the men’s standings in the 400 metres.

As of Wednesday, March 22, 2023


#Senior Sports Reporter

#BACK in action after sitting out the past season with an injury, World and Olympic champion Steven Gardiner said he’s excited about his progress and looking forward to getting back on top of the men’s standings in the 400 metres.

#The 27-year-old multiple Bahamian national record holder from Abaco opened his season with a pair of quality performances indoors in February before he won his outdoor season opener on Friday in Puerto Rico, all three in the 300m.

#“At the beginning of the year, it started out rocky. I had to go to Germany in January for a checkup and I got the green light to compete,” said Gardiner in an interview with The Tribune.

#“I did my first indoor meet in South Carolina and then we went back to Gainesville (Florida) for my second competition. That’s where we ran really well. Then we went to Puerto Rico and I had a great start for outdoors. I almost PR (personal best).”

#Last year in his 300m opener before he went down with a UTE Tendon Inflammation injury that prevented him from defending his 400m title at the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, Gardiner clocked his lifetime best and national record of 31.52 and over the weekend, he came close with his winning time of 31.59.

#“I think coming off the injury, we are in a great place where we need to be this year,” said Gardiner of his performance so far. “I feel good. Training has been going very well.

#“I’m excited about training and the times are right there.”

#With this being dubbed his “return to competition,” Gardiner said he’s looking forward to going to Budapest, Hungary in August and getting back on top of the podium in the men’s 400m.

#“I think it will take around 43 to win it, but whatever time is the winning time, that is what I want to be able to do,” projected Gardiner, whose national 400m record is listed at 43.48.

#Not having competed in a while, Gardiner said he has to concentrate on his start with his long-time coach Gary Evans in their training camp in Florida. But he said they have been making the necessary adjustments to get him ready.

#“I just want to run the perfect race,” said Gardiner, who has been training under Evans’ supervision since 2016. “He’s been a real help in getting me to where I need to be. He’s my coach and he’s been helping me to get everything together.”

#With each passing race as he makes his return to the international circuit, Gardiner said he’s seen the tremendous support poured in from the Bahamian public on social media. “I want to thank them for supporting me,” he stressed. “I want to continue to make them feel proud and to put the Bahamas back on the international stage and make more history for the Bahamas.”

#Gardiner, however, said he misses not having his close friend and fellow Bahamian star Shaunae Miller-Uibo competing. She’s taken some time off to have her baby with her husband, Maicel Uibo.

#“As my good friend, I just want her to have a healthy pregnancy and enjoy her time off because I know she really needs it, having gone back-to-back competitions for so long,” Gardiner stated.

#“I just want her to take her time and when she returns, we will link up and we can continue what we started before she took her break for motherhood.”

#Having competed on both silver and bronze medal winning 4 x 100 and 4 x 400m relay teams for the Bahamas at the 2014 CARIFTA Games in Fort-de-France, Martinique, Gardiner also sent his personal endorsement to the athletes who will be trying out this weekend for this year’s CARIFTA Games, scheduled for the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium over the Easter holiday weekend.

#“Always put your best foot forward. Most people can’t do it, so for those who make it, just do your best,” Gardiner stated.

#“You are competing at home with your family and friends there, so just go out there and do what you have to do and have fun.

#“Don’t put any pressure on yourself. The pressure should be in your training. You just need to be prepared to enjoy the games. Plus, this is our 50th year of Independence, so this is the icing on the cake. Just enjoy the experience of competing in CARIFTA and at home in your backyard.”

#Gardiner is looking forward to competing in his next meet in Florida, but while he will be running both the 200 and 400m, he said he might just surprise everybody and run in a 100m race.

#“The last time I did the 100m was in 2020 when COVID-19 started,” Gardiner said. “I ran a PB, so I will see if I can beat that.”

#But at the World Championships, Gardiner said his focus will be on the 400m where he was unbeaten in 23 consecutive races dating back to the 2017 World Championships when he won the silver medal behind world record holder Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa.

#If the opportunity presents itself, he said he could make himself available to run on the men’s 4 x 400m relay team.

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