Coach Gardiner: Still hope for relay teams to qualify for IAAF Worlds

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

Although they didn’t get to compete and possibly qualify for the IAAF World Championships, Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ relay coordinator Rupert Gardiner said there’s still hope for the relay teams to qualify for the IAAF World Championships.

As the IAAF was staged in its new home in Yokohama, Japan, over the weekend, the Bahamas was to have been represented by the team of Steven Gardiner, Ojay Ferguson, Alonzo Russell and Andre Colebrook in the 4 x 400m.

But due to an Achilles injury to Gardiner and not sufficient time to replace him with Teray Smith, who also got hurt in practice, Gardiner said they had to withdraw the team from the competition.

Now, the question is, not having a chance to advance to the final and automatically qualify for the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, from September 26 to October 6, will there be sufficient time to qualify?

“We feel we do have the time,” Gardiner said.

“There are a few more small meets in the United States that we hope to enter a relay team so that they can produce a time.

“We are also looking at the possibility of inviting a few countries to compete here in our National Championships in June where we can also qualify.

“We just need to have at least four countries participating.”

If that doesn’t work out, Gardiner said the BAAA intends to submit the four relay teams for the Pan American Games, scheduled for July 26 to August 11 in Lima, Peru).

“Our goal is to have both the men and women 4 x 100m and the men and women 4 x 400m teams qualify for the World Championships,” he said.

“We didn’t get those teams to compete at the World Relays, but we feel we can get them to compete at the World Championships.” Unlike the men, where there were sufficient athletes to make up the pool, Gardiner said there were not enough ladies to take any of the teams to the World Relays.

“It was unfortunate that our 4 x 4 team didn’t compete, but there’s nothing that we can do about injuries,” he stated. “We will continue to work with the athletes we have in the pool and add those that are needed, based on their performances at the Nationals.

“As for the ladies, we have the majority of our top athletes competing in college, so school will be out and so they will be available for us to make up the relay teams. Hopefully, they will also get a chance to compete and qualify for the World Championships.”

Also at the IAAF World Relays, the team of Cliff Resias, Stephen Newbold, Anthony Adderley and Shavez Hart ran a season’s best of one minute and 40 seconds for second place in their heat behind the United States to advance to the final with the sixth best time.

However, in the final, Gardiner said the team was poised to pick up at least a “bronze medal,” but there was an “exchange problem” between Resias and Newbold, which resulted in the Bahamas being disqualified. The other two members on the team were Adderley and Rico Moultrie.

“It’s unfortunate that they had the exchange problem because we felt they had a potential to win a medal, at least a bronze medal,” Gardiner stressed. “But I’m proud of them. They went out there and they represented us very well in the heats.”

Held for the fourth time, the IAAF World Relays once again served as an automatic qualifier for relay teams in both the 4 x 1 and 4 x 4 for men and women for the IAAF World Championships.

The Bahamas gave birth to the hosting of the event in 2014, 2015 and 2017. However, the Bahamas Government opted not to continue to fund the two-day event that drew more than 20,000 fans at Yokohama International Stadium, making it the largest ever.

Poland and Trinidad & Tobago emerged as the biggest surprises as they both upset the USA in the 4 x 400m relays for women and men respectively. Brazil also topped the USA in the men’s 4 x 100m.

The USA did win the women’s 4 x 100m and the men’s 4 x 200m, but France captured the women’s 4 x 200m. Coming off hosting the previous three World Relays, the Bahamas only contested the men’s 4 x 400m and 4 x 200m relays.