The outpouring of love and generosity from the sports community continues in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, as the face of Bahamian athletics globally, Olympic Champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, has stepped up to the plate.
On her Instagram page, Miller-Uibo has pledged $25,000 to the ravaged island communities of Grand Bahama and Abaco. Dorian, the most powerful storm of record to hit the northern Bahamas, with winds of up to 185 miles per hour and gusts reaching 220 miles per hour, ripped through Grand Bahama and Abaco from Sunday to Tuesday. The official death toll has reached 23 and is continuing to rise with gruesome discoveries each day.
Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said on Thursday that he believes the final death count will be staggering. Additionally, damages are said to be in the billions of dollars, as homes, churches, government and private structures and island infrastructure in totality were completely destroyed by the deadly hurricane. It is estimated that it could be years before inhabitants of the two major islands to the north of The Bahamas are restored to a state of normalcy.
Olympic and Diamond League Champion Miller-Uibo, also an Adidas Ambassador and The Bahamas’ most recognized global sports star, said it aches her heart to see any human being go through this tragedy, much less her fellow Bahamians.
“We are a strong nation, our people are proud, loving and patriotic. However, now we are a nation in mourning,” she said. “Communities have been left desolate, people have lost loved ones, many have lost their homes and many urgently require food, water and supplies.
“I am pledging $25,000 and I hope to raise as much as I can to help with the restoration of the hearts of our people and our beautiful landscape. I know the Bahamian government along with international organizations will assist with rebuilding in the coming days. Please help us rebuild and recover.”
Miller-Uibo said on Instagram that the $25,000 donation will assist two churches – one in Grand Bahama and the other in Abaco. Additionally, she has set up a GoFundMe account under the heading “Hurricane Dorian – The Bahamas needs your help!” with a photo of a torn and battered Bahamian flag, soliciting support for Bahamians who were affected by the passing of Dorian.
“Due to my upbringing within the church, I realize the church’s importance not only from a religious standpoint but also the social welfare it provides to our communities,” she said. “We’re also hoping to buy food supplies for these churches so that people from the affected areas will not only have a place of worship but also a place to find meals and/or supplies during these trying times. Along with what I have already donated, I have also created a GoFundMe page for others who wish to contribute. Thank you and God bless. One people united in love and service.”
It is estimated that thousands of Bahamians are homeless today, given the destruction caused by the passing of Dorian, and a significant number of lives have been lost. A number of the injured have been airlifted to the capital island of New Providence, and some of the inhabitants of those islands have taken up temporary residence with families and friends elsewhere.
Miller-Uibo is the best female 200-400m runner in the world today. She won her third consecutive International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League title, and fourth in total, last week during the 2019 Weltklasse Zürich, in Zürich, Switzerland, and will be going after the 400m title at the 17th IAAF World Championships at the renovated multi-purpose Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, in about a month’s time.
In the 200m in Zürich, Miller-Uibo won in 21.74 seconds, setting a new national record, a new Diamond League record and a new world leading time. She is now in a four-way tie for 11th all-time in the women’s 200m, and is just the second woman ever to run under 21.75 seconds in the 200m and under 49 seconds in the 400m. Her stunning time in Zürich is the fastest in the world in four years – ever since Dafne Schippers, of the Netherlands, and Jamaican Elaine Thompson finished first and second at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, China.
Miller-Uibo has won 12 straight races in the women’s 200m and has recorded 26 straight victories overall, covering all of her events.