Bahamian trio performs well in Brazil
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: May 22, 2013
A series of runs last week has Bahamian national record holder in the men’s 200 meters (m) Michael Mathieu primed to make a significant breakthrough this year.
Mathieu was one of three Bahamians taking part in the 2013 Brazilian Athletics Tour last week. He ran season best times of 20.49 seconds, 20.38 seconds and 20.35 seconds in succession, in Belém, Uberlândia and São Paulo respectively. His 20.38 seconds run was a new meet record in Uberlândia. In the other two races, he finished third.
“It was a great experience for me,” said Mathieu yesterday. “I didn’t want to do three 200s back-to-back but I decided to do it anyway. I’m happy with my performances down there, running a season best in each 200, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Mathieu, who had a slight groin injury coming down to the end of the 2012 season, said that his goal is still to be the first Bahamian to run 19 seconds in the half-lap event. His national record time of 20.16 seconds was done during last year’s Brazilian Athletics Tour, which paved the way for him advancing to the semi-finals of the 2012 London Olympics, before false-starting in his semi-final heat.
He was also an ‘A’ standard qualifier for the London Olympics in the men’s 400m, and went on to win a gold medal as a part of The Bahamas men’s 4x400m relay team which stunned the heavily favored Americans.
“As for what I’m focusing on this year, I’m not sure yet. Right now, my 200s feel and look good, but I won’t stray too far from the 400m, training wise. I’m planning on running a 400 in two weeks so hopefully now with my speed coming around, my 400 will come around too.”
All three of Mathieu’s times in Brazil were under the ‘A’ qualifying standard of 20.52 seconds for the International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Outdoor Championships, which are set for August 10-18, in Moscow, Russia. The other two Bahamian athletes competing in the Brazilian tour this year, Bianca ‘BB’ Stuart and Sheniqua ‘Q’ Ferguson, have also qualified for the Moscow World Championships - Stuart at the ‘B’ standard in the women’s long jump, and Ferguson at the ‘A’ standard in the women’s 100m.
Stuart had best leaps of 6.50m (21’ 4”), 6.67m (21’ 10-3/4”) and 6.61m (21’ 8-1/4”), to finish with two first place finishes and one second place finish, in her series of jumps in Brazil. The ‘B’ qualifying standard for the Moscow World Championships is 6.65m (21’ 10”). Stuart’s national record of 6.81m (22’ 4-1/4”) was done at the 2011 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.
“I think I’m progressing well,” said Stuart yesterday. “I’ve been pretty consistent so far this season, jumping in the 6.60m region, so I believe there is definitely room for improvement. I’m just looking forward to a healthy and successful season. I've already attained the ‘B’ qualifying standard for the World Championships so from here on out my main focus is to work on the minor technicalities that will allow me to execute my jumps at each competition. By God's grace, I'm just taking it one meet at a time.”
As for Ferguson, she had qualified at the ‘A’ standard for the women’s 100m at an earlier meet this year. The ‘A’ standard for the Moscow World Championships is 11.28 seconds, and the ‘B’ standard is 11.36 seconds. She ran 11.26 seconds at the Auburn War Eagle Invitational, and 11.36 twice, and 11.38 once in her three 100m races in Brazil. That was good enough for third, fourth and sixth. In one 200m race during the tour, she ran 23.43 seconds. The ‘A’ standard for the Moscow World Championships is 23.05 seconds, and the ‘B’ standard is 23.30 seconds.
“Well I really wanted to run faster but I'm just thanking God that I'm healthy,” said Ferguson yesterday. “This season I want to dip under 11 seconds so that's what me and my coach are geared toward.”
Ferguson trains under the watchful eyes of Bahamian coach Henry Rolle in Auburn, Alabama.
All three Bahamians are looking forward to running in the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) Open National Championships, which are scheduled for June 21-22, in Freeport, Grand, Bahama.