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Changing of guard in female sprints possible at nationals

Sports Scope
FRED STURRUP

Published: May 13, 2013

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Something exciting in track and field has been pending for several years now. With the emergence of Shaunae Miller and Anthonique Strachan as top-notch world sprinters and the presence of the consistent Sheniqua Ferguson, the changing of the guard in Bahamian female sprints has become a big topic.

The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) 2013 National Open Championships are scheduled for the Grand Bahama Sports Complex, June 21-22. Chandra Sturrup, the national record holder for the 100 meters (m) at 10.84, has long been the fastest female in the country. Two years ago, at the nationals in New Providence, she won the 100m yet again. What is her status at this time? Sturrup is 41 and not expected to be close to what she was eight years ago when she ran the 10.84.

Will she attend the nationals? Will she be best suited for the 4x100m relay? What’s happening with Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie?

The most decorated track and field athlete in the history of the country competed recently and is trying to rebound from an injury-plagued season. She holds the national 200m record of 22.19, done way back in 1999. She is now 37. In the 200m, she will likely clash with Miller who has the fifth best time (22.61) in the world this year, and Anthonique Strachan who has registered a 22.93. Ferguson-McKenzie has posted a wind-assisted 23.18 clocking.

In the 100m, Sheniqua Ferguson has an 11.26 clocking for the year, the best of all, but Strachan is thought to be a bigger threat to become the new short sprint queen. Will Ferguson-McKenzie run in the 100m?

Whatever the case, Miller would be favored to win the half-lapper and Sheniqua Ferguson and Strachan are running at a pace currently, to out-distance Ferguson-McKenzie and Sturrup in the century. Indeed, the changing of the guard is a definite possibility. This is the aspect that particularly makes for an exciting national championships event.

The younger ladies, Ferguson, Miller, Strachan, Tynia Gaither and Nivia Smith all have a long way to go to come close to matching the spectacular careers the veteran ‘Golden Girls’ have had. This is another moment in time however.

The younger ladies have been making a big push for several years now. The 2013 nationals in Grand Bahama could well be the occasion when they orchestrate the beginning of a new era in Bahamian sprinting. Best wishes to them all!

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com.


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