A total of 11 athletes will represent The Bahamas at the biggest competition for athletics this year, and among the list of entries is the country’s biggest star, making a grand return to the sport after having a baby just four months ago.
Shaunae Miller-Uibo is back and she’s ready to compete. She has been named to the team that will represent The Bahamas at the 19th edition of the World Athletics Outdoor Championships which is set for August 19-27 at the newly built National Athletics Centre, in Budapest, Hungary.
According to reports, Miller-Uibo will contest the women’s 400 meters (m), defending the title that she won two years ago in Eugene, Oregon, USA.
Joining the World and Olympic Champion on Team Bahamas are Anthonique Strachan, Devynne Charlton, Charisma Taylor and Rhema Otabor among the women, and male athletes Steven Gardiner, Alonzo Russell, Terrence Jones, LaQuan Nairn, Donald Thomas and Shakeem Hall-Smith.
There is no head coach named, but “Superman” Leevan Sands will travel as the jumps coach and Corrington Maycock will coach Rhema Otabor in the women’s javelin event. A number of personal coaches will travel with the team as well including Shaun Miller for Miller-Uibo, Rolando “Lonnie” Greene for Charlton and Shawn Terry for Strachan.
The team leader is Laketah Charlton, Tito Moss is the assistant team leader, Dr. Keir Miller is the team doctor and Pharez Cooper will travel as the team’s physiotherapist.
“We are very excited about this team. As it relates to Shaunae, it shows her resilience. It is quite courageous of her to be back competing and I believe it’s a testament to not only her conditioning but also to her love for track and field and her love for country,” said Drumeco Archer, president of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA). “Overall, we believe it to be a very strong team. We have athletes who have qualified through the standards and others who qualified through the rankings process. They are the best athletes that we have and some of the best athletes in the world. Overall, we feel that the team will compete to the best of their ability and represent the country very well.”
Qualifying through the stringent World Athletics standards are Miller-Uibo (women’s 200m and 400m), Strachan (women’s 100m and 200m), Charlton (women’s 100m hurdles), Taylor (women’s triple jump), Gardiner (men’s 200m and 400m), Russell (men’s 400m) and Jones (men’s 100m and 200m).
TyNia Gaither also qualified, doing so in the women’s 200m, but she hasn’t competed all year, battling back from an undisclosed illness, and is unavailable to compete.
Otabor, Nairn, Thomas and Hall-Smith have qualified via athlete quota through the World Athletics Rankings. Otabor will compete in the women’s javelin, Nairn in the men’s long jump, Thomas in the men’s high jump and Hall-Smith in the men’s 400m hurdles.
The Bahamas also qualified in the women’s 4x100m relay, ranking among the top 16 teams in the world in that event at the end of the qualifying period, but according to Archer, because of relay legs that are unavailable, that team will not compete.
“We are missing some athletes because of health reasons and other matters and we wouldn’t have been able to field a women’s sprint relay team that would have been competitive at this level based on the available runners that we have. With the reputation of the country at stake, we decided to pull the team,” said Archer. “This team is small, but it is very diverse, probably the most diverse team that we would have ever fielded at the world championships with athletes in the sprints, hurdles, jumps and throws. It is packed with a lot of talent and high-level competitors and it heralds the start of a new generation of stars. I believe it to be a strong team, and with the athletes we have coming back from injury for next year, that bodes well for us going into the Olympics in 2024.”
Archer said The Bahamas is setting itself up for a strong representation at the world championships of athletics.
Jones has revitalized the men’s sprints in the country, running personal best times of 9.91 seconds and 19.87 seconds in the 100 and 200m this year. Gardiner is looking to reclaim the world title that he won in Doha, Qatar, in 2019, possibly challenging the national record of 43.48 seconds in the process. Russell is quietly having his best season, running the three fastest times of his career in the men’s 400m this year. Thomas is a former world champion and is battling back to form. Miller-Uibo is the absolute best in the world when healthy and is the defending World Champion. Strachan is having the best season of her life, running personal best times in both the 100 and 200m this year. Charlton is the only Bahamian to run in the final of the short hurdles at both the world outdoor championships and the Olympics and will be a threat in that event again. And the versatile Taylor has progressed into the elite status category among Bahamian athletes this year, having success in the jumps and the hurdles. She qualified for the world championships in the women’s triple jump.
As for the other athletes on the team, all newcomers at this level, Otabor, Nairn and Hall-Smith, they are all extremely talented and could turn heads in Budapest.
BAAA President Archer is excited about the prospect of Team Bahamas and looks forward to fantastic results.