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Fantastic fourth for Shaunae

  • The Bahamas' Shaunae Miller, right, competes in a women's 200-metre heat at the World Athletics Championships in the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Russia on Thursday.

SHELDON LONGLEY
Guardian Sports Editor
slongley@nasguard.com

Published: Aug 17, 2013

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MOSCOW, Russia – At 19-years-old, Shaunae Miller is the fourth fastest women’s half-lapper in the world. No one could take that away from her.

On Thursday, she became the youngest female ever to advance to the final of the women’s 200 meters (m) at the International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships, and on Friday she took it a step further by powering to a fourth place finish among the world’s best sprinters right here in Moscow, Russia.

Once again, Miller didn’t run the curve too well, but her straightaway was fantastic as she proved that her top end speed is among the best in the world. She motored past three runners on the home stretch, to secure a fourth place finish, in 22.74 seconds.

Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce secured the sprint double in these 14th biennial world championships as she was in a class by herself, taking the tape in 22.17 seconds.

Murielle Ahoure, of the Ivory Coast, held off Nigerian Blessing Okagbare for the silver medal in a photo finish. Both were timed in 22.32 seconds, but it was Ahoure who was given the edge in a photo finish. She won the silver medal in the 100m as well, also behind Fraser-Pryce. The top three last night finished about three strides ahead of everyone else.

The battle was for fourth, and it would be the Bahamian youngster who would get it, flying past Mariya Ryemyen of the Ukraine, and Americans Janeba Tarmoh and Charonda Williams on the straightaway. Three-time world champion, Allyson Felix, of the United States, pulled up on the curve and didn’t finish the race.

"I just thank God for the opportunity – it was my first senior meet, so I’m glad I did well,” said Miller last night. “I’m still not 100 percent but I’m pleased that I got away without any major injuries. It was a pretty good season, pretty long, but pretty good.”

To say Miller had a pretty good season would probably be an understatement. She carted off triple gold at the CARIFTA Games, winning the prestigious Austin Sealey Award in the process; went on to set school record after school record at the University of Georgia; captured the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Indoor title in the 400m; finished second in the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 400m; established a new junior national record of 22.45 seconds in finishing second to Anthonique Strachan at the BTC National Open Track and Field Championships, and just this past week she became the youngest ever finalist for the women’s 200m at the world championships.

To top that off, she overcame the odds again, to finish fourth, and with her now being a professional athlete, she will pocket $15,000 from the IAAF for her efforts. The Bahamas government’s remuneration program should add considerably more, and her incentive laden contract from Adidas should be beneficial as well.

All the money aside, Miller is just glad that she was able to perform well on the world’s biggest stage for athletics, and make the Bahamian people proud.

“The experience was good. This was my first time competing with the seniors, and I was able to make it to the final. I wasn’t really watching the competition. I just wanted to go out there and run my race, and try to finish up strong. I’m glad that I was able to do that, and stay healthy at the same time,” she said.

Miller added that coming from seventh place off the bend to fourth, certainly wasn’t easy. She just got past American Janeba Tarmoh for fourth. Tarmoh settled for fifth, in 22.78 seconds, fellow American Charonda Williams was sixth, in 22.81 seconds, and Mariya Ryemyen ended up seventh in 22.84 seconds. Three-time world champion Allyson Felix pulled up and didn’t finish the race.

Miller might have crossed the finish line fourth place, but on this very chilly night in Moscow, the 19-year-old star was first in the hearts of Bahamians.

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