Qualifiers coming slowly but surely for Worlds
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Jun 11, 2013
Just seven Bahamians have qualified ‘A’ standard for the Moscow World Championships so far, but Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ (BAAA) President Mike Sands said that he is not worried at all as athletes are beginning to round into shape with the nationals rapidly approaching.
Two of the latest ‘A’ standard qualifiers came this past weekend, as Jamial Rolle ran 20.51 seconds, in perfect wind, in the men’s 200 meters (m) at the Montverde Star Athletics Sprint Series on Saturday, and Jeffery Gibson broke a 30-year-old national record in the men’s 400m hurdles by running a stunning 49.39 seconds at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships. In addition, Michael Mathieu and Shaunae Miller added their second events to their resume, as they both glided under the ‘A’ qualifying standards in the men and women’s 400m at the above mentioned meets respectively. Mathieu ran 45.21 seconds for a first place finish in Montverde, Florida, and Miller ran a new junior national record time of 50.70 seconds for a second place finish at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
Mathieu is the only one of the “Golden Knights” to qualify for the open quarter thus far though. Demetrius Pinder is nursing an injury, and national record holders Chris Brown and Ramon Miller have both come up short of the qualifying mark in their respective races. Also, as far as the men’s high jump is concerned, former World Champion Donald Thomas and Trevor Barry, who won the bronze at the last world championships two years ago in Daegu, South Korea, have both failed to qualify. Ironically, Bahamians Ryan Ingraham and Jamal Wilson both reached the ‘B’ standard in that event (2.28m - 7’ 5-3/4”) at the Chris Brown Bahamas Invitational right here in The Bahamas.
In total, there are seven ‘A’ standard qualifiers, four ‘B’ standard qualifiers, and three relay teams qualified - the men and women’s 4x400m relay teams and the women’s 4x100m relay squad. The Bahamas sent an 18-member team to Daegu two years ago. This year’s International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships is scheduled for August 10-18, in Moscow, Russia.
“We’re not worried at all because when you look at the guys, particularly the 400m guys, all of them are very experienced,” said Sands yesterday. “The athletes know what is required of them, and we still have our nationals to look forward to. We expect that a number of the qualifiers will come at the national championships. When you look at it, a number of the athletes haven’t been running their individual events. For instance, Ramon ran a 200 this past weekend. I assume that they are sharpening up for the stretch run,” he added.
The Bahamian ‘A’ standard qualifiers for the Moscow World Championships are Derrick Atkins in the men’s 100m (10.06), Michael Mathieu in the 200m and 400m (20.35 and 45.21), Jamial Rolle in the 200m (20.51), Jeffery Gibson in the 400m hurdles (49.39), Sheniqua Ferguson in the women’s 100m (11.26), Shaunae Miller in the women’s 200m and 400m (22.61 and 50.70) and Anthonique Strachan in the women’s 200m (22.93).
The Bahamian ‘B’ standard qualifiers are Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie in the women’s 100m (11.32), Bianca Stuart in the women’s long jump (6.67m - 21’ 10-3/4”) and Ryan Ingraham and Jamal Wilson both in the men’s high jump (2.28m - 7’ 5-3/4”). As for Ferguson-McKenzie, she would have to run the ‘A’ standard in that event, as Sheniqua Ferguson already has ‘A’ standard in the women’s 100m.
In addition, it is mandatory for all athletes to participate in the BAAA National Open Championships, and run the event that they intend on competing in at the Moscow World Championships. The nationals are set for next weekend, June 21-22, at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
“I have no doubt that the athletes are going to step up to the plate,” said Sands. “With our high jumpers, Donald and Trevor, I have not heard anything officially about their health, but I would wish for all of the athletes who are healthy to compete at the nationals. The ones who have qualified in two events, it might be advantageous for them to compete in the event that they have the best chance for a medal in, or if they wish, they can do the double at the worlds. We are optimistic that all of our athletes will do well at the nationals, and we will see a lot more qualifiers for the world championships.”
The deadline for entry for the BAAA nationals is this Friday.
The only relay team that is yet to qualify for the championships is the men’s sprint relay team, but Sands is optimistic that that team will qualify as well as they are planning to field teams at a couple qualifying meets in short order. The top Bahamian male sprinters this season have been Atkins (10.06), Warren Fraser (10.24), Adrian Griffith (10.29) and Trevorvano Mackey (10.41).