Smith runs respectable time, but fails to qualify for semis
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Aug 16, 2013
MOSCOW, Russia –A transitional year for Nivea Smith nearly translated into a semi-final appearance at the biggest athletics meet in the world.
Placed in one of the fastest opening round heats of the women’s 200 meters (m), Smith finished out of the top three automatic qualifying spots, and was two tenths of a second of posting one of the three non-automatic qualifying times.
She was fifth in her heat and tied for 27th overall in 23.25 seconds – her second fastest in a season in which she moved back to her home base of Freeport, Grand Bahama from her former training ground of Auburn, Alabama.
The 23-year-old former World Youth bronze medalist in the event said that she is just happy to be running consistently well again, and is looking forward to the 2014 season.
“I’m disappointed with not making it through to the semis, but I’m satisfied. I’m happy with where I am and I just have to continue to work hard. It was a struggle to get back to this point. Between May and now, I have come a long way so I’m pretty happy where I am right now.
“Today, I expected something a lot slower. I was actually considering to stop running, but I’ll be back next year. I know that I have to work a lot harder to get to the level where I want to get, but I’m prepared to put the work in.”
In her first time running the 200m at the senior level on the world stage, Smith seemed composed and relaxed. She came off the bend pretty good, and ran a strong straightaway, but just didn’t have enough to keep up with the top three runners in her heat.
American Olympic Champion in the event, Allyson Felix, won that particular heat in the top qualifying time of 22.59 seconds. Jamaican Anneisha McLaughlin was second in that heat in 22.78 seconds, and Myriam Soumare, of France, took the third automatic qualifying spot in 22.83 seconds. Jodie Williams, from Great Britain, crossed the finish line fourth in that heat in 23 seconds flat. Smith held on for fifth.
In actuality, Smith just found herself in a very fast heat. Maria Belimpasaki, from Grenada, ran a much slower time than Smith, but will run in the semis as one of the three fastest non-automatic qualifiers.
Smith was the third Bahamian female to see action in that event here at the Luzhniki Big Sports Arena on Thursday morning. Anthonique Strachan and Shaunae Miller made it through to the semis with the third and fifth fastest times of 22.66 and 22.72 respectively.
“I’m really happy for both of them,” said Smith. “They’re young and they have a lot of talent. They’re doing pretty good and I’m proud of them.”
Overall, Smith said that she truly enjoyed her experience here at these 14th International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships. She leaves on Sunday and won’t be a part of the women’s 4x100m relay pool.
“The championships are okay and Moscow is a great city, but I didn’t get to see too much of it. I wish that I could have seen more,” she said.
The heats of the women’s 4x100m will run at 4:15 p.m. on Sunday, and the final is scheduled for less than two hours later, at 6:10 p.m.
As for Smith, she was less than a tenth of a second off her season’s best time of 23.17 seconds, which she did at the BTC National Open Track and Field Championships in her hometown of Freeport, Grand Bahama, in June. She said that she knows that she has to work much harder next season, but she’s prepared for the work ahead.