|Anthonique Strachan is for real|
Published: Apr 16, 2012
The amazing performance of the 2012 BTC CARIFTA Team Bahamas demonstrated that track and field is on the move in The Bahamas. In the last three years, the performance of Bahamians in the signature regional junior sports event has shot up by leaps and bounds.
In 2010 in The Cayman Islands, The Bahamas finished third with 29 medals – six gold, 10 silver and 13 bronze. The next year in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the country moved up to second place with nine gold, 11 silver and 11 bronze for a total of 31 medals.
Just over a week ago in Bermuda, the site of the country’s historic CARIFTA victory in 1980, the Bahamian athletes “were having a party”. They jumped to an unbelievable 40 medals – 14 gold, 14 silver and 12 bronze. The country has not performed that well in a quarter of a century.
No one athlete could have done it, but sprinter Anthonique Strachan helped signify the march back to success of The Bahamas on the regional junior track and field scene. Over the last three seasons, Strachan has etched her style and success on the Bahamian and regional scene. At the 2009 CARIFTA Games in St. Lucia, Strachan ran 23.95 seconds in the 200 meters (m).
In 2010 at the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada, Strachan ran a personal best time of 23.66 seconds in the first round and 23.99 seconds in the semi-final of the 200m. In 2011, she made a significant move when at the Scotiabank National High School Track and Field Championships, she was voted the Most Outstanding Female Athlete of the championships for her 23.17 second run in the 200m, the best time in the world for the event at the junior level at that time.
The St. Augustine’s College (SAC) student improved her time to 23.06 seconds at the Bahamian CARIFTA Trials, making her a favorite to win the event at the Montego Bay Games. In Montego Bay, Strachan ran 22.93 seconds to tie Veronica Campbell’s Games record. Along with her victory in the 100m in 11.38 seconds, her 200m time propelled her to be selected as the Most Outstanding Athlete of the 2011 Games, earning her the Austin Sealy Award.
At the Sr. Central American and Caribbean Championships in Mayaguez last July, Strachan finished second to Grand Bahama’s Nivea Smith, in 22.90 seconds. The next week she broke the Bahamian national junior record in the event, running 22.70 seconds to capture the Pan American Junior title. That time was the fastest in the world for a junior at that point in the year, only to be beaten by Dafne Schipper with a 22.69 seconds run at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu.
Strachan was selected to The Bahamas’ World Championships team and ran 23.20 seconds in her heat and made it to the semi-final where she ran 23.85 seconds, her slowest time in competition for the year.
Another significant move
This year she teamed up with Bahamian coach Henry Rolle in Auburn, Alabama and has not skipped a beat. Strachan is finishing high school at a Home School program at Southern Community College in Oplelka, Alabama. Rolle coaches many top female sprinters from the Caribbean and the United States in Auburn.
Strachan came home for the Colina CARIFTA Trials and was supposed to be contested by her former St. Augustine’s teammate Shaunae Miller in the 200m. Miller had tied Strachan’s 200m national junior record of 22.70 seconds at the recent Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools Championships.
On the first day of the Trials, Strachan easily ran 11.22 seconds, her personal best in the 100m. This was her first outing of the season. Miller ran second to Strachan in the 100m but was unable to challenge Strachan in the 200m due to injury. Her coach decided Miller would not run the 400m at the CARIFTA Games but the 100m and 200m.
At the Games in the under-20 girls’ 100m, Strachan, along with last year’s gold medalist in the under-17 girls’ 200m, Carmeisha Cox, finished first and second in the event. The cold weather, however was too much for a fast time as Strachan ran 11.22 seconds again now with a tailwind of 4.4mps.
In the 4x100m relay, Strachan overtook Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson, who received the baton with about a 10-meter lead on the final leg for what seemed like and easy victory. On the final day, both Miller and Strachan won their 200m semi-finals easily and now the event that the entire region looked forward to was on.
In the final, Miller had a good start and it seemed that she was going to challenge Strachan strongly surging off the curve with a comfortable advantage. However, as the race progressed Strachan made up the ground on the stretch and crossed the finish line with a new championships record time of 22.85 seconds. Miller finished in 23.18 seconds, not challenging Strachan at all. There was a headwind of -.07mps.
At the end of the evening Strachan was again selected as the Most Outstanding Athlete, attaining a feat that Bahamian Laverne Eve did in 1982 and 1983.
Where does Strachan go now?
The Bahamas’ National Junior Championships is scheduled for June 8 and 9 and the Scotiabank Olympic Trials is scheduled for June 22 and 23. These competitions will qualify her for the IAAF World Junior Championships and the London Olympic Games.
Miller might still attempt to upset her in the 200m at the junior championships. However it may be impossible for her to double in the 200m and the 400m at the World Junior Championships as the final of the 200m is just 30 minutes before the 400m final, in which she is the defending champion.
Then there is the Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships in San Salvador, El Salvador the final weekend in June, just prior to the World Junior Champs in Barcelona, Spain. Prior to 2008, The Bahamas had won two medals in the IAAF World Junior Championships, the first by Eugene Greene, a bronze in the triple jump in Sudbury, Canada, in 1988, and a bronze by Shamar Sands in the 110m hurdles in Kingston, Jamaica, in 2002. In 2008, Sheniqua Ferguson won the gold medal in the 200m and the bronze medal in the 100m in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Based upon the early performances of Strachan it is possible for her to win both the 100m and 200m in Barcelona and make the final of the London Games in the 200m.
Anthonique Strachan is for real and we await the next chapter of this talented young Bahamian’s exciting career.