There are many famous quotes that talk about the inevitability of change. 

They all say, “change is inevitable” and I agree. 

After all, in this fast-paced world, things are constantly developing, constant changes in technology means we are always having to adjust to keep pace with a rapidly evolving world.  

Those who can adapt are often more likely to succeed while those who can’t often get left behind. 

In my own field, the advent of social media and the tools that assist with easy dissemination of information have meant a change in attitude and approach to how content is created for traditional media. 

But in my field and many others, there are people who constantly resist change for whatever reason. 

I must admit, change isn’t always good and so it can sometimes be difficult to determine when change is necessary as opposed to when to maintain the status quo. 

In sports, many athletes are faced with this dilemma. As a teenager, which sport should I focus on? I think I could be world-class at a couple and then at the highest level what’s my best position or what is my best event? Those are questions many athletes constantly ask themselves. 

The answers are never easy to find and that is exactly why when an athlete makes drastic career alterations and still finds more success they should be lauded. 

I think about former Jamaican hurdler Danny McFarlane, the 2004 Olympic 400 metre hurdles silver medallist.  

Before Danny was a hurdler, he was a more than competent flat 400 metres athlete. 

By the time he ran his first ever race over 400m hurdles, in April of 2003, Danny was already an Olympic 400 metres finalist, an Olympic mile relay silver medallist, four times an IAAF World Championship mile relay silver medallist, an IAAF World Indoor mile relay champion and also 400 metres bronze medallist. 

To say he had carved out a solid career is an understatement. 

But clearly Danny felt he could have achieved more from the sport of track and field. However, his personal best at 400 metres was 44.90 seconds, set in 1995. 

If he wasn’t going to run much faster, which was unlikely at 31 years old when he changed events, then it’s unlikely he would have done much more than appear on a few Jamaican relay teams. 

So, he took the bold step despite little to no hurdling experience. 

I won’t chart the race by race improvements he made between April 2003 and his Olympic silver medal performance at the Athens Games in 2004 but I will say his rise was meteoric. 

In his first year of contesting the event, he won the Jamaican title, improved to 48.30 seconds, and finished fourth at the World Championships in Paris France. 

And so, it wasn’t a massive surprise that he was a contender when the Olympic Games rolled around in 2004. 

With eventual champion Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic and American James Carter favored to battle for Gold, many felt McFarlane was running for bronze. 

But the 32-year-old timed it perfectly, running a personal best 48.00 seconds to win his semi-final and when Carter blew up down the stretch in the final, McFarlane pounced and captured a deserved silver. 

My recollection of Caribbean voice Lance Whittaker, “and McFarlane looks as if he will get silver – and he does,” as his voice raised almost in shock.   

One thing we all remember from that Danny McFarlane performance is that it was far from perfect. 

His 400 metre hurdles journey from 2003 to the point of his retirement as a 40-year-old in 2012 was characterized by less than perfect hurdling. 

While he improved over time, for the most part, his hurdling could be described as jumping. 

But he jumped his way into the hearts of Jamaicans who adored him because of his willingness to try something new, to embrace change, to fight, and when technique failed to turn to heart. 

For all that and more, Danny McFarlane isn’t just a lesson for 2004 but a lesson for life. 

Danny isn’t just a lesson for track and field or just for sport but a lesson for all endeavors.  Danny, we salute you and say thank you for teaching us all a valuable lesson.  

 

Tajay Gayle, the 2019 World Championships long jump champion, had to settle for a third-place finish at the Gala Dei Castelli meeting in Switzerland on Tuesday.

The Bahamian pair of Steven Gardiner and Tynia Gaither ran out winners in the 100m at the American Track League meeting at the Life University in Marietta, Georgia on Saturday.

World championship silver medallist Danniel Thomas Dodd won the shot put over an unlikely opponent at the American Track League meeting in Marietta, Georgia on Sunday.

Thomas-Dodd who lost the World Championship gold medal to China’s Gong Lijiao in Doha by just 8cm on October 3, 2019, 19.47 to 19.55), uncorked a 19.18m throw to win at the meet held at Life University.

The mark was the fourth-best throw in the world this year.

It was a lopsided affair as he opponent was World Championship 400m silver medallist Shaunae Miller-Uibo. The Bahamian produced a best mark of 11.70m.

Meanwhile, Miller-Uibo’s former roommate at the University of Georgia, Chanice Porter jumped 6.35m in the long jump. She was the lone competitor.

In the women’s 200m former Holmwood Technical sprinter, Chrisann Gordon-Powell was second in the 200m in 24.38s. Gordon-Powell was beaten by the USA’s Jessica Beard who clocked 23.52 for the win.

The standout performance of the meet came from 18-year-old Justin Robinson, who outran a talented field to win the 400m in 44.91s. Michael Cherry, 44.98, and Matthew Hudson-Smith 45.58 were second and third, respectively.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Machel Cedenio was fifth in 46.71.

 

When Shaunae Miller-Uibo completed her fantastic sprint double at the Back to the Track: Clermont track meet on the weekend, she moved up the ranks in an elite class of athlete – the combined sprinter.

Citing the perceived reluctance of the Olympic organisers to adjust the schedule at next summer’s Games, 2016 Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo is mulling stepping down to the 200m for Tokyo 2021.

The 26-year-old Bahamian has been the best 200/400m sprinter in the world over the past two seasons, has requested an adjustment to the schedule that would allow her to attempt the double, something they have done to accommodate Americans Michael Johnson and Allyson Felix as well as French track icon Marie Jose Perec.

However, to date, the Bahamian and her Olympic committee have heard nothing to suggest that the IOC will honour her request.

“We have made an appeal to have the schedule changed. We’ve not received a positive response as yet, but we remain hopeful that they would take another look at it because it means so much to us and it means so much to Shaunae Miller-Uibo,” said Bahamas Olympic Committee President Romell Knowles while speaking with the Bahamas Guardian.

“To come from such a small island and to get an opportunity to be among the best in the world in both the 200 and 400 meters is just phenomenal. The precedence has already been set and we would just like to be given that opportunity. It means so much to a little country like ours that has produced such great athletes.”

Meanwhile, Miller-Uibo, for now, seems resigned to the possibility that she will have to drop one of her events.

 “As it is now, the schedule isn’t set up for me to do two events, so I would have to choose one event and we’re leaning more toward the 200 meters seeing that we already have the 400 meters title,” Miller-Uibo told the Bahamas Guardian.

“We wanted to do both – I wanted to go after the 200 metres title and also wanted to defend my 400 meters title, but the way the schedule is set up, it would be difficult to do both. It’s been that way for a few years now. When they didn’t change the schedule, we had to make some decisions and right now, we’re leaning toward the 200. Nothing is finalized as yet, but that’s the way it is right now.”

Only three athletes have ever won the 200/400m double at the Olympic Games – Johnson and Perec and Valerie Brisco-Hooks.

On October 3, 2019, eight of the world’s best female runners lined up for the final of the Women 400m final at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Among the eight were Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson, Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo and an exciting young talent Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain. Also among the finalists were 2017 champion Phyllis Francis, Wadeline Jonathas of the USA, Stephenie-Ann McPherson of Jamaica, and the Polish pair of Justyna Święty-Ersetic and Iga Baumgart-Witan.

They were about to be role players in what was one of the greatest races of the championships and one of the fastest of all time.

About 15 months earlier – July 20, 2018 - about 6000 km away in Monaco, Naser and Miller-Uibo had set the stage for their much-anticipated clash in Doha.

In a stirring battle inside the Stade Louis II, the Bahamian running in lane 6 was pushed to a personal best 48.97 by the young Bahranian - running in lane 5 - who also delivered a lifetime best of 49.08s, clearly demonstrating that she was getting a lot closer to getting a leg up on the towering Bahamian star.

It was the only loss Naser suffered over 400m in 2018.

Fast-forward to October 3, 2019, when Naser is one again in lane 5. This time, however, Miller-Uibo is running in lane 7. Jackson is in lane 3.

People across the globe were expecting something special. Many, including me, smelled a possible upset. Naser had looked strong coming into the final, I daresay as good as Miller-Uibo, the favourite.

The only question in my mind was whether the two 400m legs Naser ran to help Bahrain to the bronze medal in the mixed relays a few days earlier had sapped whatever energy she had left in those powerful legs of hers.

When the gun went, it was immediately clear that Naser was going to be a real threat. She powered down the backstretch steadily closing the gap until she was on the Bahamian’s shoulder with just over 100 metres to go.

Naser then slung off the curve into a three-metre lead over Miller-Uibo and held her immaculate form to cross the line in 48.14 and the claim the gold medal.

The 48.14 was a world-leading time, an area record, a personal best and the third-fastest time in history. Only East Germany’s Marita Koch 47.60 and Czechoslovakia’s Jarmila Kratochvílová 47.99 have run faster.

Like the rest of us who witnessed it, Miller-Uibo, who had just run the sixth-fastest time in history (48.34), sat stunned at what had just transpired.

For weeks, the race was the topic of many conversations as we discussed whether the 35-year-old world record was under legitimate threat.

So imagine my dismay when last week Google alerts brought my attention to the fact that Naser had been provisionally suspended under Article 2.4 of the WADA Code.

Whereabouts violations make little sense to me.

The World Anti-Doping Agency requires that athletes fill out a form online that says where they will be for an hour each day. This allows doping control officers to locate and conduct out-of-competition tests on an athlete.

If an athlete misses three tests in a 12-month period, it is tantamount to a doping violation and the athlete, if found culpable can be banned for up to two years. Mind you, it does not mean an athlete has been doping but it also does not mean they have not.

However, it is the duty of the athlete to ensure that the update their whereabouts. It is not that hard. In this age of smartphones, an athlete can update his or her information on the fly because, in reality, things can change in a hurry.

In recent times, a number of Caribbean athletes have run about of this code. Jamaican cricketer Andre Russell and Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye have been suspended for missing tests.

Track and field athletes know how important it is for them to uphold the integrity of their sport. The flood of doping cases over the past few decades have served to badly taint the sport that it is hard to trust performances because you never truly know.

It has got so bad that even Usain Bolt’s times have been called into question even though he has never failed a dope test in his outstanding career.

So, it is shocking to me that an athlete could manage to miss three Tests in a year. In the case of Naser, it was four, according to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), who also claim that Naser’s third missed test was under investigation while she was powering her way to victory in Doha.

What is even more disappointing is that the gravity of the situation seems to be lost on the young woman.

“It can happen to anybody. I don’t want people to get confused in all this because I would never cheat,” she said.

“Hopefully, it will get resolved because I really don’t like the image. It’s going to be fine. It’s very hard to have this little stain on my name.”

Her comments are shocking to me.

“It can happen to anybody”? It should not be happening. The life of the sport depends on athletes upholding their end of the bargain. Athletics has fallen steadily down the pecking order and is struggling to attract sponsors and it is because of things like this.

In addition, no, it is not going to be fine because now like so many other outstanding athletic performances, there is now a huge cloud of suspicion over that amazing time and incredible race, a cloud that will remain forever over it no matter the outcome of the AIU investigation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2019 Women 400m World Champion Salwa Eid Naser has been provisionally suspended for not making herself available for doping tests.

Naser was charged under Article 2.4 of the WADA Code that relates to whereabouts violations, according to the Athletics Integrity Unit of World Athletics.

Athletes are required to provide regular updates on their whereabouts to make it possible for anti-doping authorities to carry out surprise testing outside of competition.

A violation means an athlete either did not fill out forms telling authorities where they could be found or were not where they said they would be when testers arrived.

Three missed tests over a period of 12 months are the equivalent of a doping violation.

At the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, the Nigerian born runner stormed to victory in a world-leading 48.14s, the third-fastest time in history upsetting gold the medal favourite Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas.

 If a case is proven against her she could miss next year's Olympics set for Tokyo, Japan.

Winning three All-American awards has helped take the edge off a frustrating end to the 2019/2020 NCAA athletics season for University of Texas sophomore Julien Alfred.

Excelsior High School star Ackera Nugent and Holmwood Technical High School’s Kavia Francis will both be attending Baylor University when the next academic year begins this Fall.

Steven Gardiner, the 2019 400m world champion, said he was motivated to do his best in Doha for the sake of the people in his home country, The Bahamas, who were devastated by Hurricane Dorian. and now that he has won gold, he wants more.

World Athletics has named Cuba’s Ana Quirot winning gold medals at the 1995 and 1997 World Championships, among 10 of the greatest athletics moments of triumph over adversity.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.