Thomas opens competition for Team Bahamas; Miller-Uibo still strong contender for gold
Team Bahamas will be missing a huge piece, but there is still ultimate optimism for the now 16-member team that will begin competition today in Eugene, Oregon, USA.
The 18th World Athletics (WA) Outdoor Championships will get underway today and run through July 24 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene. World and Olympic Champion Steven Gardiner pulled out of the men’s 400 meters (m) on Monday. He was a strong contender for the gold medal, but medal hopes remain for Team Bahamas, particularly in the women’s 400m.
Two-time Olympic Champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo will contest the women’s 400m, still looking for her first world title outdoors. By her standards, she has had a subdued 2022 season, but still won the world indoor title this year and remains the most feared runner outdoors. Miller-Uibo has a modest season’s best time of 49.91 seconds in the 400m outdoors – good enough to place her third on the World Athletics’ top performance list for 2022. However, she is the only woman in the field of competitors to run under 49 seconds and is the favorite for the gold medal. Miller-Uibo’s lifetime best of 48.36 seconds, done for the Olympic title in Tokyo, Japan, last year, is nearly a second faster than anyone else in the field of 51 athletes at the Eugene World Championships.
She suffered her first Diamond League defeat in the women’s 400m since 2015 in May of this year, fading to third in 51.84 seconds in Doha, Qatar, but bounced back a month later at the Paris Diamond League Meet, winning comfortably in 50.10 seconds.
“At this stage, I’m quite confident about my chances to succeed in Eugene,” Miller-Uibo told reporters. “I’m healthy, everything is going great at training. I’m exactly in the shape I wanted to be at this time of the season.”
Miller-Uibo could run a leg of the mixed 4x400m relay that starts today, but likely won’t step on the track until the heats of the women’s 400m at midday on Sunday.
The first athlete to see action for The Bahamas will be former World Champion Donald Thomas in the men’s high jump. He is now 15 years removed from that world title in Osaka, Japan, but is the only world outdoor champion on the team.
Thomas, who has a lifetime best of 2.37m (7’ 9-1/4”) and a modest season’s best of 2.25m (7’ 4-1/2”), will be the third jumper in Group B of the men’s high jump qualification round. He will compete at 10:10 a.m. today local time in Eugene, 1:10 p.m. here in The Bahamas.
An automatic qualifying mark of 2.30m (7’ 6-1/2”) or a spot among the 12 best jumpers will qualify Thomas for the final which is set for Monday evening at 8:45 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) in The Bahamas. There are 32 jumpers entered in the men’s high jump competition.
Also in action for The Bahamas today will be the mixed 4x400m relay team, LaQuan Nairn in the qualifying round of the men’s high jump and Samson Colebrooke and Terrence Jones in the first round heats of the men’s 100m.
The mixed relay team will see action at 11:56 a.m. in Eugene, 2:56 p.m. here in The Bahamas. They will run out of heat six in lane two. In the relay pool for The Bahamas are Miller-Uibo, Anthonique Strachan, Megan Moss, Doneisha Anderson, Javonya Valcourt, Jenae Ambrose, Alonzo Russell, Bradley Dormeus and Wanya McCoy.
The first three teams in each semifinal heat and the next two fastest teams will qualify for the final which is set for 10:50 p.m. EST tonight. That race will close out day one of competition.
Nairn is The Bahamas’ first competitor in the men’s long jump at a global meet in 10 years – ever since Raymond Higgs at the 2012 Olympics in London, England. He will be the seventh jumper in Group B of the men’s long jump at 9 p.m. EST this evening.
Nairn has a season’s and lifetime best of 8.22m (26’ 11-1/4”) which qualified him for the world championships. He is listed at number eight in the world on the World Athletics’ top performance list for 2022.
Nairn has high hopes of advancing to the final as an automatic qualifying leap of 8.15m (26’ 9”) or a spot among the 12 best jumpers will put him in the final which is set for Saturday evening at 9:20 p.m. EST in The Bahamas. There are 34 jumpers entered in the men’s long jump competition.
Finally on Friday, for The Bahamas, Colebrooke and Jones will compete in the first round heats of the men’s 100m. The lane assignments are yet to be released, but that event will get underway at 9:50 p.m. EST.
The heats of the women’s 100m, and the semifinals and final of the men’s 100m, along with the final of the men’s long jump, are set for Saturday. To complete the weekend for The Bahamas, Miller-Uibo will compete in the heats of the women’s 400m at midday on Sunday, and the semifinals and final of the women’s 100m will be held later on Sunday.
Competing next week for Team Bahamas will be Miller-Uibo (women’s 400m), Anthonique Strachan and TyNia Gaither (women’s 200m), Devynne Charlton (women’s 100m hurdles), Ken Mullings (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 set to compete.