She stands as one of the greatest CARIFTA athletes, ever.
Anthonique Strachan reigned supreme in regional and international junior sprinting in 2011 and 2012, She was the sprint queen of CARIFTA, winning in both years, the 100 and 200 meters gold medals. She won the World Junior Championships titles in the 100 and 200 meters in 2012 and the year before Strachan was the Pan Am Junior champion in the 200 meters.
Her post-junior career has not followed in form. Injuries, plus a relay mishap hampered her as a senior competitor. In fact, not until Sunday, April 23, did she win anything on the international scene as a senior elite performer.
Her breakthrough at the senior international level came before a house of adoring fans. The occasion was the final evening of the Third International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relays at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
Running the third leg of the historic Bahamian mixed 1600 meters relay team, Strachan was superb. She countered the strategy of the United States team, which opted, to pit one of their male runners against her. Clearly, they picked on Strachan, thinking that going after her with a male was their best option for overcoming the host country.
What Strachan did was solidify the view that she has the capability to be a quality open 400 meters runner. Her 52.88 split enabled her to pass off the baton in fifth position in the eight-nation field and provide anchor Michael Mathieu with a safe run against Claudia Francis of the USA, to capture the first gold medal for The Bahamas in World Relays competition.
Strachan’s time, proof of her ability to sustain over the entire one lap of sprinting, was significant. However, for me, most compelling was how she refused to be intimidated by being forced to keep The Bahamas in a manageable position, in search of the gold medal.
American Paul Dedewo was on a pace to run a split of 45.23, but he was unable to catch Strachan until approaching the final turn for the homestretch. It was too late. In a gutsy fashion that she will be long remembered for, Strachan hung on and handed off to Mathieu, having served her country quite well. It was a fitting performance for a champion caliber athlete.
Her moment on the podium at an international senior event was rather long in coming, but there she was, along with Steven Gardiner, Shaunae Miller- Uibo, and Mathieu, smiling and gleeful.
At 23, Strachan, once able to avoid the injuries, will make many more podiums. She and Miller-Uibo are the two most versatile sprinters in the nation. Miller-Uibo is 23 also, and has personal bests of 11.19 in the 100 meters, 22.05 for the 200 meters and 49.44 for the 400 meters.
Strachan although not comparable in achievements as a senior athlete, has appreciable numbers, 11.20 over 100 meters; 22.32 for the 200 meters and a best of 52.40 in the 400 meters.
The view here is that the performance at the World Relays signaled the arrival of an Anthonique Strachan who will become a major force to deal with in the very near future.
Best wishes Anthonique!
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org WhatApp 727-6363).