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Women’s relay squad heart-broken after disqualification

  • From left to right: Cache Ambrister, Sheniqua Ferguson, Shaunae Miller and Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie; the women that represented the Bahamas in the Women's 4x100m relay at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow. TNG FILE PHOTO

Guardian Sports Editor

Published: Aug 19, 2013

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MOSCOW, Russia – It was one of those results which will ring on in the minds of Bahamians for quite some time.

Hopes and excitement were abound after Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie went flying past the British athlete, Hayley Jones, to cross the finish line in first place in their women’s 4x100 meter (m) semi-final heat here in Moscow, Russia, but those hopes and thrills soon turned to tears of disappointment when the team found out that they were disqualified for a lane infraction.

The IAAF quoted a disqualification via rule 163.3(a), which states: “In all races run in lanes, each athlete shall keep within his allocated lane from start to finish. This shall also apply to any portion of a race run in lanes.”

After watching video, it was discovered that lead-off leg Sheniqua Ferguson stepped on the inside line of the first curve at least three times. Needless to say the team of Ferguson, Shaunae Miller, Cache Armbrister and Ferguson-McKenzie was heart-broken. They had just run a season’s best time of 42.73 seconds, only to have it nullified.

“I thought it was okay from what I’ve seen. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. We tried. It’s hard. It’s just really hard,” said a teary-eyed Ferguson-McKenzie before finding out exactly what the infraction was. “For me, this was all about pride and country. I just feel like I let my country down, but I just want them to know that we tried. I don’t know what happened. I’m not sure why this happened. We wanted to be in the final and take it from there, but I don’t know what to say. We got disqualified.”

The two top finishers in each semi-final heat and the next two fastest times qualified for the final, which was won by Jamaica in a championship record time of 41.29 seconds. What was most discouraging, is that The Bahamas would have been right “in the money” for a silver medal. After fumbling the baton, the United States (U.S.) held on to finish second in the final as France, who crossed the finish line in second place, was disqualified. Thereby the U.S. won the silver medal, in 42.75 seconds, and Great Britain claimed the bronze, in 42.87 seconds. The Bahamas had a better time than both of those nations in the heats, but was disqualified, as these 14th International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships wrapped up yesterday, in Moscow, Russia.

“I am just dumbfounded right now,” said lead-off leg Ferguson before finding out what the infraction was.

“We went out there and we performed well. I don’t know what happened. We gave it our all, and I don’t understand what happened. There’s nothing we could do basically. It was a good team that we had. We just have to go out there and prepare for next year,” she continued.

Miller appeared too distraught to comment on the matter. Armbrister, who ran the third leg, said that they were all smiles and elated after they thought they had won, and then became totally emotionless afterwards.

“Coming behind here and hearing this news just makes me feel kind of cold right now. I’m emotionless at this point, more so disappointed and very depressed,” she said.

“We really went out there and gave it our all. Everyone ran exceptionally well.

“Our goal was to keep it safe and run as hard as we can, and pass the stick within the zone. I felt like we did that. I’m just completely dumbfounded right now. I don’t know what to say and how to feel, but I know that I went out there and gave 110 percent.

“I figured that we had a really good shot of just not making it to the final, but winning a medal as well. If we have to settle for this, it will really put a damper on our experience here. I thought everything went well. I didn’t see a flag anywhere, and I don’t know what happened.”

In running the 42.73 seconds time, the women’s 4x100m relay team would have recorded its fastest time since The Bahamas won the silver medal in the event at the 2009 Berlin World Championships, and it certainly would have gotten them in the final where anything would have been possible. In addition, the squad did it without one of its fastest runners who suffered a slight injury in the open women’s 200m here in Moscow.

Anthonique Strachan was hoping to be feeling good enough to run in the final, but she would never get that opportunity as the team had to settle for the unfortunate result of being disqualified.


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