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Bahamas give IAAF World Relays a golden finish

The Bahamas team of Michael Mathieu, Shaunae Miller, Anthonique Strachan and Steven Gardiner celebrate atop the medal podium on Sunday night. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

THERE was nothing sweeter than winning the first gold medal for Team Bahamas in the third edition of the IAAF/BTC World Relays in the new mixed event at the two-day competition on Sunday night at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium.

It could not have come at a more opportune time as the quartet of world leading men’s 400m runner Steven Gardiner, Olympic gold medallist Shaunae Miller-Uibo, former world junior champion Anthonique Strachan and multiple 4x400m relay medallist Michael Mathieu took a rousing victory in a superb 3 minutes 14.42 seconds to win the inaugural mixed 4x400m that brought the curtain down on the meet.

With hundreds of fans in the stadium cheering as the rhythmic sound of Junkanoo played, the quartet topped the Americans, who ran 3:17.29 for the silver and the Jamaicans, who got bronze in 3:20.26.

All four competitors were thrilled about their historic performance as it was the first time that a senior national team competed in the event and the first time that the national anthem was played in a medal ceremony at the championships.

“It was very exciting. It’s not too often that we get to compete with the girls,” said Gardiner, who opened up with a fantastic first leg that gave the Bahamas the lead. “So it’s one of a kind for us to go out there and bring it on.”

Gardiner, 21, handed the baton to 23-year-old Miller-Uibo, who maintained her lead on the second leg.

“We had an amazing time. We had so much fun. Just to be able to do it here in the front of our fans is an amazing feeling,” Miller-Uibo pointed out. “Every one of us ran extremely well. For us as girls to run with the guys, it was a bit nerve racking, but I think we did our best and we made it a fun event.”

It wasn’t all fun for 23-year-old Strachan, who got caught on the final bend of the third led and passed by American Paul Dedewo.

“I was joking in the call room with the third leg guys telling them not to pass me because if they did, I know I wouldn’t be able to catch them,” she stated. “But I knew we had a very good team that could win.”

In the end, Mathieu, the veteran at 32, caught American Claudia Francis around the same part of the track and surged to the front for victory.

“It was a good experience. We did come out with the medal, so that was pretty good overall,” he summed up. “It’s also good for the Bahamas because we won.”

Day two was a great improvement on Saturday for the host nation, with the women's 4x100m team joining their male counterparts in securing qualification for the event at the IAAF World Championships in London in 2012.

The United States won the men's 4x800m relay in 7min 13.16sec in a close finish with Kenya and Poland a distant third. The US women won the 4x400m title in 3:24.36 from Poland and Jamaica while Canada's men got the better of the Americans in the 4x200m final. The winning time of 1min 19.42 gave them the gold from the US in 1:19.88 with Jamaica third in 1:21.09. The Bahamas quartet of Blake Bartlett, Samson Colebrooke, Ian Kerr and Shavez Hart finished fifth in 1:22.36.

The US took the women's 4x400m race in a tight finish with Botswana, their winning time of 3:02.13 being 15 one hundredths of the second better than the Africans. Jamaica were close behind in third in 3:02.86.

The Bahamas women's 4x100m team finished sixth in the final in 44.01 seconds behind surprise winners Germany, who edged out the Jamaicans in 42.84. China finished third.

For the third successive event the United States took the Golden Baton for overall winners, their 60 points over the weekend far exceeding Jamaica (39) and Australia (24). The Bahamas finished equal eighth with 15 points.

For a full report and photographs, see Monday's Tribune

THERE was nothing sweeter than winning the first gold medal for Team Bahamas in the third edition of the IAAF/BTC World Relays in the new mixed event at the two-day competition on Sunday night at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium.

Link:

Bahamas give IAAF World Relays a golden finish

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