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Availability issue causes IAAF Worlds questions

Sports Scope
  • Shaunae Miller.

FRED STURRUP

Published: Aug 07, 2013

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I have been informed that track star Shaunae Miller will only be available for the 200 meters (m) at the 14th International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Outdoor Championships in Moscow, Russia, August 10-18. The availability issue over the years has been a problem for the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) and sports federations in the country.

Many in the basketball family, still lament the absence of the then Michael Thompson (before he changed his first name to Mychal) and Osborne Lockhart from the 1975 Team Bahamas at the Pan American Games in Mexico City. About two decades later, Rick Fox opted to play for Canada instead of The Bahamas. In both instances, the presence of those stars would have made a big difference for Bahamian basketball.

In track and field, athletes have often failed to show for the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, the CAC Track and Field Championships, and the Pan American Games. On other occasions, some showed up but determined to compete in just one event.

It’s an issue that has caused frustration for team officials, the BOC and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. Earlier in this space, I expressed the view that the utmost care should be given to “not” over-loading young athletes during the competition in Moscow. My opinion also is that Miller should run just one individual race and one of the relays, the 4x100m sprint.

Now if it is true in fact that her camp is focused on the half-lapper and not the 400m, Miller’s specialty, then that situation would raise a lot of eyebrows. I’m hoping that the information received is incorrect. Why would Miller run just the 200m and not her best race? There is no intention here to downplay her ability in the 200m. She is a definite sub-23 seconds 200m sprinter. She has gone under 23 seconds for the event several times this year, with 22.45 her personal best.

It’s debatable, I suppose, whether she has a better opportunity for advancement to the final of the 200m rather than the 400m. I lean on the side of the longer sprint. What I don’t understand though, is why she would not be available for at least the short sprint relay. The case could be made that the average time of the other female quarter-milers is around 53 seconds and would put Miller at a great disadvantage on the anchor leg. Thus, a decision to stay away from the female 1,600m relay could be defended.

However, the 4x100 is another situation. With Anthonique Strachan, Sheniqua Ferguson, Cache Armbrister, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie and Nivea Smith in the mix, I actually think the 4x100m female sprint relay is one of our best chances for respectability or a final. I just don’t know how Miller and her personal team of advisors would be able to justify her running just in the 200m.

As previously mentioned, hopefully the report coming to me is not totally accurate. Go Team Bahamas!

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


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