Miller no-show for the 400m as expected; to contest the 200m
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Aug 12, 2013
MOSCOW, Russia – Shaunae Miller’s no-show in the women’s 400 meters (m) was no surprise this past weekend, as coaches had already indicated that she would concentrate on the 200m as opposed to the longer distance. Miller was one of two Bahamian athletes to qualify ‘A’ standard for two individual events at these 14th International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships – the other being Michael Mathieu who has qualified ‘A’ standard in the same events, on the men’s side. Like Miller, he wasn’t entered in the 400m this past weekend.
As for Miller, Head Coach of The Bahamas’ 25-member team George Cleare said that it was a no-brainer running her in the 200m as opposed to the 400, given the tremendous toil that the lanky Bahamian star endured this season.
“We didn’t really speak much about it, but Shaunae was hurt quite a bit this year. She is still young, so we have to be careful with her. She has missed a lot of training, and with the 400 being an endurance event, we decided that it would be better for her to focus on the 200m,” said Cleare this past weekend. “We missed a lot of the background work with Shaunae, and with the 200, the endurance is needed but not as much as the 400. Basically, it was just taking a look at how the season was turning out, and giving her the best opportunity to advance.”
The real question is whether or not Miller would have stood a better chance of advancing through the rounds of the 400m as opposed to the 200m. She is the 14th best quarter-miler, in terms of time, this year, and the 12th best in the world in the 200m – both personal best times, 50.70 and 22.45 seconds respectively.
All eight girls in tonight’s 400m final have run faster than Miller this year, including two Americans, two Jamaicans, two Russians, defending champion Amantle Montsho of Botswana and former World and Olympic Champion Christine Ohuruogu of Great Britain.
In the 200m, Miller will be lined up against some of the best female sprinters in the world including American Allyson Felix, Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Blessing Okagbare from Nigeria, Murielle Ahoure from the Ivory Coast, and her Bahamian teammate Anthonique Strachan just to name a few.
“It’s going to be a real battle,” said Cleare yesterday. “The main goal is for both Shaunae and Anthonique to make it through the rounds healthy, and hopefully we can get both of them in the final. That would be a major plus for The Bahamas – to have two very young girls into the final of one of the marquee events on the track. That’s our focus right now.”
Both girls are a part of the women’s sprint relay pool, which also includes National Champion Sheniqua ‘Q’ Ferguson, the ageless wonder Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, Cache Armbrister and Nivea Smith.
“Shaunae is a part of the 4x100m relay pool but not the 4x400m pool, simply because the schedule doesn’t permit it if she makes the final of the 200m,” said Cleare yesterday. “Had we put her in the 4x400m pool, she would have had to run the 4x400m the morning of the 200m final, and at a major championships such as worlds, it’s impossible for anyone to go out there and run an all-out 400 and then come back two hours later and run a strong 200 against the best runners in the world. We definitely feel that she would contribute more to the success of the 4x100m relay team rather than the 4x400m team.”
Miller set junior national marks in both the 200m and 400m this year, in qualifying ‘A’ standard for both. At 19, she is the youngest member of Team Bahamas here in Moscow.