|New national record for Michael Mathieu!|
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: May 09, 2012
Given their performances this season, a pair of Bahamian quarter-milers were in hot pursuit of the men’s national record in the 200 meters (m), and it would be 27-year-old Michael Mathieu who would get there first, blazing to a stunning 20.16 seconds at a Grand Prix meet in the Brazilian city of Belem, on Sunday.
Mathieu, who hails from the nation’s second city, was unavailable for comment but according to reports, the spectacular performance was done in 35 degree weather and with a wind reading of .8 meters per second (mps) as the Brazilian Athletics Tour got underway. The former national record of 20.21 seconds was set by former St. John’s sprinter Dominic Demeritte 10 years ago. In the race on Sunday, Mathieu finished ahead of second place finisher Aldemir Gomes da Silva, of Brazil, and his countryman Diego Henrique Cavalcante. They finished second and third in times of 20.48 seconds and 20.50 seconds respectively.
Just last month, another Grand Bahamian Demetrius Pinder, ran 20.23 seconds into a headwind in Coral Gables, Florida. As for Mathieu, he was more than two tenths of a second faster than his previous personal best time, a mark of 20.38 seconds that was turned in right here in New Providence a year ago.
Mathieu has qualified for the London Olympic Games with the ‘A’ standard in two events - the 200m and 400m, but might not be able to do the double at the Olympics as the heats of the 200m and the final of the 400m are on the same day, Monday August 6. He now has personal best times of 20.16 seconds in the 200m, and 45.17 seconds in the 400m.
Mathieu was unavailable for comment, but Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) Public Relations Officer Alpheus ‘Hawk’ Finlayson said that it is a fantastic performance this early in the season.
“What it does is set us up for what is expected to be a great Scotiabank Olympic Trials,” said Finlayson yesterday. “We, as a country, have always had great performances in Brazil, and that performance by Mathieu was no exception. A time like that is a fantastic performance, especially with the European season no starting yet. We got a glimpse of what he could do in the 200m last year. He only fell prey to an injury at last year’s World Championships. This shows that Michael is ready. He is initially a 400-meter man, but he has proven to be a tremendous sprinter. He ran the 4x100m at the Penn Relays and is really coming into his own as a 200m runner. It creates an interesting scenario to see what event he will run, or if he will run both, at the Scotiabank Olympic Trials.”
Mathieu’s performance represented the fifth national record to be tied or broken this year. Shaunae Miller tied the national junior mark in the 200m (22.70 seconds), Ivanique Kemp tied her own national record in the women’s 100m hurdles (13.20 seconds), and Hughnique Rolle broke her own national records in the 1,500m (4:39.09) and 3,000m.