Shaunae Miller-Uibo might have earned a nomination for the 2018 IAAF Athlete of the Year Award on the strength of her 200 metre running alone. The 24-year-old Bahamian won the 200 metres at both the Commonwealth Games and the season-ending Continental Cup and dominated the world's best in four other half -lap races. However, her national record run in the 400 metres is the 2018 performance that she rates the most highly.
That came in Monaco on July 20 when she polished off a three race 400 metre campaign with a clocking of 48.97 seconds to edge Bahrani youngster Said El Nasser, who lowered her best to 49.08 seconds. The winning time made the Bahamian the 10th fastest of all time and the 10th woman ever to break the 49 second barrier.
She values that accomplishment even more than going undefeated in 2018.
Happy with growth
"Both were really important to me, but I definitely was happier with breaking the 49-second barrier this year", she told The Gleaner. "That was a major goal I've had set for some years now and to see everything pay off, that's a major plus for me."
The Monaco duel added to her easy wins in Eugene - 49.52 and Budapest - 49.53, while sweeping away her old personal best of 49.44 seconds, set while falling around the line at the Olympics. It also removed the long-standing Bahamian record, 49.07 seconds, set in 2004 by Tonique Williams-Darling, the first Bahamian to win the one-lap event at the Games.
"When the season first started my coach, Lance Brauman, and I discussed going 48 this year, so to accomplish that was a great feeling" shared the 2016 Olympic champion. "I'm getting a better understanding of the event and falling in love with it more and more each time, so I think that marked the true beginning of what I set out to accomplish in the event."
Needless to say, the barrier breaker made her the fastest woman in the world at 400 metres. She also held that position in 2016 and 2017 when her best time was 49.46 seconds.
Shericka Jackson, Dina Asher-Smith, and 2015/2017 World Champion Dafne Schippers chased her in vain all season. She essayed a best time of 22.06 seconds to leave Schippers behind in Shanghai. Her slowest final was timed in 22.29 seconds in Rabat when Asher-Smith, the soon-to-be crowned double European champion, was the runner-up.
She was one of the stars in Kingston at the Racers Grand Prix, where she beat Jackson in 22.11 seconds.
Miller-Uibo also found time to blaze the quickest-ever straight 150 metre time -16.23 seconds - in Boston and to high jump and put the shot at the Bahamian Championship. In addition, as she prepared for the Commonwealth Games in April, she equalled the 300-metres indoor world record of 35.45 seconds on February 5 in New York. Asked what was the most important factor that led to such a good season, she said in a statement, "My coach and I worked on getting a little stronger, but we also worked on a new race model, which is still a work in progress."
The IAAF awards will be presented in Monaco early next month.