Olympic 400 metre gold medallist Shaunae Miller-Uibo knew that if there was going to be anyone she had to contain with it would have been her training partner American Tori Bowie. So Miller-Uibo said she wasn’t surprised when the American pulled up on the side of her and coasted to victory in the much anticipated star-studded women’s 200 metres.
Bowie, considered an after thought with the much of Olympic and World Championship champions in the IAAF Diamond League’s Prefontaine Classic on Saturday in Eugene, Oregon, took the tape in a world leading and meet record time of 21.77 - erasing Marion Jones’ 1999 meet mark of 21.81. She was also just shy of fellow competitor Allyson Felix’s Hayward stadium record of 21.69.
Miller-Uibo ran a national record of 21.91 seconds to as she trailed American Tori Bowie through the finish line. In the process, Miller-Uibo improved on her previous national record of 22.05 that she ran on June 11, 2016 at the Jamaica’s National Racer’s Grand Prix in Kingston, Jamaica. It also puts her legally on the world chart after she posted a wind-aided 21.90 in Clemont, Florida last month.
“I just want to first give thanks to God for the allowing me to compete and complete the race healthy. I’m very happy with my performance,” Miller-Uibo said. “My coach told me that he didn’t care about the placing, he just wanted a PR. And I did just that and also came away with a New national record so I’m pleased.”
Bowie, the 26-year-old Olympic 200m bronze medalist in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last year, ran out lane seven and she was able to catch the 23-year-old Miller in lane eight on the curve. By the time they got onto the straight, Bowie had already surged to a comfortable lead.
“Tori and I are in the same training camp and I knew that she was also in great shape so I’m not shocked with her performance,” Miller-Uibo said. “She ran a great race.”
In taking the top two spots, Bowie and Miller-Uibo held off Rio Olympic 100/200m champion Elaine Thompson from Jamaica, who finished third in 21.98.
The Netherlands’ Dafne Schippers, the reigning world champion and Olympic silver medalist, was fourth in 22.30, while Felix, the runner-up to Miller-Uibo in Rio last year on a dive at the line, had to settle for fifth place in 22.33.
Miller-Uibo holds the world leading time of 49.77 in her specialty in the 400m after winning the second IAAF Diamond League meet in Shanghai, China on May 13. She’s expected to run in that event on the next Grand Prix stop in Rome, Italy on Thursday, June 8. She’s hoping to contest the two events - 200 and 400m - at the IAAF World Championships in London, August and said this was a great test of her ability to compete against some of the world’s best.
“It shows me where I’m at right now and what I need to work on,” Miller-Uibo stressed. “The main focus is still the 400 and improvements in my 200 shows that I can improve in the 400 as well so my coach and I will go back to the drawing board and figure what has to be done to finish prepare for the London games.
Her manager Claude Bryan was quite impressed with what he saw. “Quite pleased actually, a personal best and good health makes for a great weekend,” he insisted.
He noted that it was exactly what she needed to gauge her progress.
“Not that she needed it, however, this will skyrocket her confidence,” he quipped. “Shaunae is never short on confidence even when the odds may be stacked against her.”
Moving forward, Bryan said Miller-Uibo will compete appear at her primary sponsor adidas’s street event in Boston next weekend where she will run a 200m. After that, Bryan said she will head to Grand Bahama for the Bahamas Association of Athletic Association’s National Open Track and Field Championships from June 23-24. But he indicated that they are awaiting word on the protocol they will employ to afford Miller-Uibo as she has already expressed the desire to compete in the 200/400m double in London.