BAAA’s update on 400 meters star Steve Gardiner imperative

Steven Gardiner, the leading 400 meters sprinter in the world, is in limbo, as far as his national competition status is concerned.

In a sense, Steven Gardiner, the outstanding quarter miler who hails from Abaco, is being held hostage because the Bahamas Association of Athletics Association has not yet announced a decision, regarding his disregard, reportedly, of the head coach’s directive for him to run the first round of the 1,600 meters relay at the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships.

The situation is quite interesting and begs for a full BAAA explanation. It is my understanding that after his exhausting run through to the silver medal in the open 400 meters at the 2017 World Championships, Team Bahamas’ relay coordinator discussed the options with Gardiner and it was agreed between them, to bypass the first round and be available for the next round if necessary.

The view of the relay coordinator, I have been told was that Gardiner was not physically ready for the first round, to give his best efforts. Sometime after the discussion between the relay coordinator and Gardiner, apparently the head coach got into the act, with the view that he should in fact compete in the first round of the relay.

Of course, the BAAA has done an investigation. There have been interviews and facts have been gathered.

Certainly by now, a decision should have been handed down. Gardiner should have been informed by now of his status.

There is an interesting letter carried in The Freeport News. The letter writer wonders whether Gardiner “will even run for Team Bahamas again.” It was pointed out that while Gardiner did not represent the country in the recent Commonwealth Games, reportedly due to “U.S. Travel restrictions,” he subsequently was able to travel out of the U.S. to Doha, Qatar and Shanghai, China for Diamond League action, heightening his world reputation tremendously, in the process.

Exactly what is the situation with Gardiner, as it relates to the BAAA, the governing body for track and field in the country?

He should not be left in limbo.

It is not fair to him. Also, his Bahamian followers, supporters want closure on the matter.
It seems that the more significant issue within the Gardiner “relay” situation at the 2017 IAAF Worlds, is that the head coach and the relay coordinator had a difference of opinion.
Should Gardiner even be the one on trial?

Hopefully, this national sports matter will be sorted out sooner than later. Within another 12 months, the fourth IAAF World Relays event is scheduled in The Bahamas, the location of the previous three (2014, 2015, 2017). Gardiner, along with Shaunae Miller, Anthonique Strachan and Michael Mathieu won the mixed relay gold medal in 2017.

He would represent a gold medal chance for us, once again next year.
The view here is that his situation needs to be cleared up. Indeed, an update on this national sports issue is imperative.

•To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com or on WhatsApp at 727-6363).

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