|Relay uncertainties confront BAAA|
Guardian Columnist/Sales Executive
Published: Jun 28, 2012
I anticipate some creditable performances by Bahamian athletes at the London 2012 Olympics scheduled for July 27-August 12.
My early favorite to lead The Bahamas’ effort is the men’s 1,600 meters (m) relay team. The Bahamas has been ranked high in this event for more than a decade. While uncertainty surrounds the other relays (women’s 4x100m, women’s 4x400m and men’s 4x100m), the 1,600m runners would disappoint greatly, if they do not end up among the top three medals.
They are that good. The Bahamas has four quarter-milers clearly capable of running flat races under 45 seconds. With the exception of the United States and possibly Jamaica, no other country can legitimately make that boast. A line-up for the final of Ramon Miller, Chris Brown, and Michael Mathieu, with the perennial national champion Demetrius Pinder at anchor, evokes sheer excitement.
As expressed in this space previously, The Bahamas is the one country that has a realistic chance of defeating the United States, barring any exchange problems. That nation will be led by LaShawn Merritt, who has a world leading 44.12. No other country in the history of track and field has ever been so consistently deep.
With the London 2012 Games just about a month away though, Bahamians ought to be feeling quite good about our men’s 1,600m relay chances. If there were doubts, the threesome of Pinder, Miller and Brown, looking so good last Saturday in the 400 final of the BAAA Nationals, have surely erased all fears. Pinder led the way in 44.7. The other relays present the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) with a huge collective challenge.
Among the Bahamian male sprinters, there is one confirmed world-class performer; That’s Derrick Atkins. He holds the national mark of 9.91 for the 100m and has done 10.09m this season.
He seems to be on his way back to top form. Warren Fraser has just one clocking under 10.20.
However, he has yet to prove himself consistent at that speed. It is quite clear that a monumental effort needs to be made at the Jamaican nationals this weekend to qualify for London. The national 4x100 record is 38.98. That’s the area our men sprinters will have to get to in Jamaica if they are to earn the trip to London for relay competition.
The task is equally as daunting for the women’s 4x400 relay team. Shaunae Miller at 51.25 is the head of the pack. If there were three other Bahamian female quarter-milers in that category, qualifying for London would not be such a high hurdle. Alas, there is Shaunae and quite frankly a handful of other ladies who we hope would greatly exceed in Jamaica this weekend, what they have done so far this year.
The women’s 4x100 sprint relay team is listed currently among the world’s top 16 and could possibly qualify. My concern is for the general health of the group. They are all hurting. National 100m champion Chandra Sturrup limped clearly following the 100m heat and final last Friday during the BAAA Championships. Anthonique Strachan, Sheniqua Ferguson and Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie are also reportedly battling injuries.
So indeed, there is definitely that air of uncertainty regarding the Bahamian relay teams, outside of the men’s 4x400 squad. Hopefully some good signs will surface in Jamaica this weekend.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org)