Shaunae Miller-Uibo wins the 400m at the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22 (© Getty Images)
According to Shaunae Miller-Uibo, her legs are too long to suit the two-time Olympic champion to the tight, vertiginous nature of indoor 400m running.
“I never get the chance to stretch out my legs,” said the 1.85m (6ft) tall Bahamian when she arrived in Serbia for the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22.
Still, the four turns the 27-year-old negotiated in the Stark Arena were not enough to prevent her from claiming her first world indoor or outdoor title as a senior. Neither, for that matter, was the challenge of Olympic 400m hurdles bronze medallist Femke Bol.
Drawn out in lane six, Miller-Uibo managed to use her long levers to good effect from the off.
Breaking for the inside lane ahead of her young Dutch rival, she passed halfway in 23.43, then stretched clear down the back straight and eased to a clear victory in 50.31 - 0.10 shy of the area record she set last year.
Bol, winner of the European indoor flat 400m a year ago, took silver in 50.57, with Stephenie Ann McPherson claiming bronze in a Jamaican record 50.79.
“It’s my first time out in the season. Three rounds was tough. The 400m’s a brutal race. I can feel it now.”
It might not have been quite as majestic as her more flowing form in the outdoor arena, but Miller-Uibo was a class apart even as a reluctant indoor performer.
Outdoors, she might have claimed Olympic 400m gold in Rio in 2016 and in Tokyo last year but a senior world championship title has been beyond her grasp.
A 400m silver medallist at the 2015 and 2019 outdoor world championships and 200m bronze medallist in 2017, she also has an indoor 400m bronze, having finished third behind Francena McCorory of the US and Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer as a teenage novice in Sopot in 2014.
Now, however, Miller-Uibo has bridged the gap to her world U18 success in 2011 and world U20 victory in 2013.
Behind Bol and McPherson, Poland’s Justyna Sweity-Ersetic matched her fourth-place finishes of 2014 and 2016, clocking 51.40.
Guyana’s Aliyah Abrams took fifth place in 52.34, with Bol’s Dutch teammate and training partner Lieke Klaver sixth in 56.67.
Simon Turnbull for World Athletics
|WOMEN'S 400m MEDALLISTS
|Shaunae Miller-Uibo 🇧🇸 BAH
|Femke Bol 🇳🇱 NED
|Stephenie Ann McPherson 🇯🇲 JAM