Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo is all smiles during the celebration in her honor at the BLTA’s National Tennis Center on Saturday night. Miller-Uibo finished 2018 unbeaten in all of her events. AHVIA CAMPBELL
Back home after what could be termed as the greatest single season ever by a Bahamian track and field athlete, Shaunae Miller-Uibo was lauded on Saturday night, among family friends and members of the sporting community.
A number of fans showed up to congratulate Miller-Uibo at the ‘Diamond Queen’ celebration which was staged by Operation Sovereign Bahamas in conjunction with the Shaunae Miller-Uibo Foundation at the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association’s (BLTA) National Tennis Center on Saturday night.
Miller-Uibo was fantastic this past season, capping it with her second straight International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) Diamond League title in the women’s 200 meters (m), and third Diamond League title in a two-year span.
She completed an undefeated season at the IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018, winning the women’s 200 meters (m), the women’s 4x100m relay and the mixed relay. This season, she finished a perfect 18-0 in all of her events, inclusive of nine 200m races; three 400m races; an indoors 300m race in which she tied the world record; the 150m straight at the Adidas Boost Boston Games; the high jump and shot put events at the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) National Open Championships; and relays.
“It’s been a great run this season, and I just give God all the thanks and praise for it,” said Miller-Uibo on Saturday night. “I’m happy with my performances. I put in a lot of hard work and it paid off. I got to make my country proud, and I’m glad I was able to do that.”
On her return home on Thursday, Miller-Uibo paid an immediate courtesy call on former sports minister and current Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard, and along with her family, was treated to a luncheon by the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC yesterday. Her trip home was sponsored by the BOC.
Miller-Uibo is expected to make a number of public appearances this week before returning to Orlando, Florida, USA, on Sunday.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be home. It always is. When I first got in, I was met by the BOC. They gave me a warm welcome and I’m very grateful for that,” said Miller-Uibo. “Adrian (Francis) and his group organized this special celebration for me tonight, and it really makes me feel welcomed at home. I feel the love.”
On Saturday night, Miller-Uibo’s granduncle and former Cabinet minister Leslie Miler brought remarks. Also speaking were Member of Parliament for Englerston Glenys Hanna-Martin; BOC President Romell ‘Fish’ Knowles; former Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson; track and field historian and former BAAA President Alpheus ‘Hawk’ Finlayson; and track and field enthusiast Laura Pratt-Charlton. Yours truly brought remarks on behalf of the sports journalists in the country.
It was an outpouring of love for the Bahamian Olympic and Diamond League Champion. She said that she is humbled by the love and support, and is looking forward to duplicating her performances next year. This season, Miller-Uibo became just the 10th woman ever to run under 49 seconds in the women’s 400m and the first to do so in nine years.
With that stunning 48.97 national record setting run in Fontvieille, Monaco, she also became just the fifth woman in history to ever run under 49 seconds in the 400m and under 22 seconds in the women’s 200m. There is a chance she could run both at next year’s IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
“We’re trying some new things and working very hard. That’s (winning a world title) very important for me. I want to go out there and get that done,” said Miller-Uibo. “The goal this year was to try stay undefeated and to run under 49 seconds. I was able to do both, and hopefully I could do it again next year. It’s a great feeling.”
Miller-Uibo has a unique and creative flair, particularly when it comes to hair styles and color. In terms of hail color, she has gone with gold, silver, aqua and most recently pink and purple. Miller-Uibo said that her creative displays are all a reflection on how she’s feeling at that particular moment.
“I got a call saying that I need to put the Bahamian flags in now, so I don’t know. It all depends on the mood I’m in and I’ll go with that,” said Miller-Uibo. “I’ll surprise some people I guess. We’ll see.”
At 24-years-old, Shaunae Miller-Uibo is on top of the world in the female sprints.
She tied Irina Privalova’s world best mark in the women’s 300m indoors this year, set a new world mark in the 150m straight, won nine individual races in the women’s 200m, ran 48.97 seconds in the women’s 400m and ended the season with a perfect 18-0 in all of her events climaxed by a triple gold medal performance for the Americas squad at the IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018, in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Her three golds helped the Americas win the overall title.
In 2018, the Bahamian golden goddess was the undefeated and undisputed best female half-lapper and full lap athlete in the world, and shows tremendous promise for much more in 2019 and beyond.
The world awaits what’s next from Shaunae Miller-Uibo.