The 2017 International Association of Athletic Associations (IAAF)/BTC Relays World Relays was officially declared open, after an Opening Ceremony that featured opening remarks from Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Perry Christie and IAAF officials.
The team had hopes of making the finals in the Men’s 4x100 and 4x400 meters and the Women’s 4x400m on the first day of competition. However, those hopes came to a halt as The Bahamas missed out on all three appearances in the finals.
Instead, a few season best times were the highlight for the team as they headed into the second day of competition (Sunday, April 23).
Team Bahamas first took the track in a stacked Heat One of the Men’s 4x100 meter dash. The team of Grand Bahamian Shavez Hart, Cliff Resias, Adrian Griffith and Warren Fraser competed among powerhouses’ Jamaica featuring Yohan Blake and Trinidad and Tobago.
Running out of lane seven the team appeared to be holding on strong, but difficulty on exchange three had The Bahamas having to play catch up and that led to a fourth place finish. The team ran a season best time of 39.36 seconds, but missed out on the main event finals, and having too compete in the B Finals later that evening.
The A Final featured Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Netherlands, People’s Republic of China, Australia, France and Germany. A dropped baton did not allow the Jamaicans to complete the race.
When asked how it felt to run in front of the Bahamian crowd, Hart briefly voiced, “It felt good. I wish I could do it again, in the finals.”
Hart and the gang would run in the B Final later Saturday night and come away with a third place finish and lowered the previous season best time with 39.19 seconds.
The time finally came for the race hometown fans were anxious to see. The Women’s 4x400m team led by Olympic gold medalist Shaunae Miller-Uibo raced in Heat Two of the preliminaries. Miller-Uibo got the team off to a hot start out the blocks. Teammate Antonique Strachan kept the lead that was built for the majority of second the leg. Unfortunately, the lead began to shrink. Christine Amertil and Rashan Brown, who were the third and fourth leg of the race and were not able to hold on long enough as The Bahamas finished seventh in the time of three minutes and 34.40 second.
It was a season best time of the quartet.
That left the United States, Poland, Jamaica, Australia, Botswana, Nigeria, Great Britain and France to move on to highlight the main final, set for day two.
Next, it was the men’s turn in the 4x400m preliminaries. The duo from Grand Bahama –Michael Mathieu and Demetrius Pinder – along with Andretti Bain and Steven Gardiner finished third in Heat One of three. The quartet clocked a season best of 3:05.37. The Bahamas had to wait to see if their time would get them into the finals, but later found out it did not.
Mathieu said he felt good about his split and pretty good overall. He also felt the team could have put forth a better performance.
“I felt it could have been a little bit better … We should come back faster.”
Pinder kept his head high about the result and knew it would be a fight prior to the team’s introduction onto the track.
“Like I told the rest of the guys it’s the first time back and we’re coming back into a fight – guys (were) fighting trying to get me into position and everything. We were still able to build momentum and come back on them.
“It wasn’t too difficult. We’ve seen these guys before, so it’s nothing new. It’s just going out there and trying to take all the week of resting and chilling out of your legs, but other than that it was good.”
Pinder’s time at the 2015 Relays was followed up by some trying times for the Olympic champion. Pinder also did not get the opportunity to compete at last year’s Olympics. Nonetheless he revealed that he has been in a much better space since that time.
“It was tough for me, not competing in Rio – being taken off the team and all, but other than that I’ve been coming back pretty strong.
“I actually found a good coach to help me get rid of all my distractions and focus in a lot on track and field rather than anything off of the track.”
Both men and women’s teams will compete on day two in the B Final.
The Women’s 4x800m finals were the first finals of the night. The gold went to the United States who finished with a world leading mark of 8:16.36. Silver went Belarus who clocked a season best 8:20.07. The bronze was won by Australia in a season best time of 8:21.08.
All eyes were on the Women’s 4x200m final. Jamaica, anchored by Elaine Thompson, got the baton around to secure the gold and set a new championship record of 1:29.04. Germany followed to take the silver with a season best time of 1:30.68. The United States settled with the bronze with a time of 1:30.87.
The United States and Canada put on a show in the Men’s 4x100m preliminaries with a showdown between top sprinters’ Justin Gatlin and Andre De Grasse. The spotlight would be on the two teams in the final, but while Canada did not finish, the Americans would capture the gold in 38.43 seconds. Barbados won the silver in a season best time of 39.18. The People’s Republic of China were the bronze medalists in a time of 39.22 seconds.
Published Monday, April 24, 2017