News14 Jul 2012

Strachan sizzles down the home straight for second gold


Anthonique Strachan of Bahamas wins the Women's 200 metres Final on the day four of the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona on 13 July 2012 (© Getty Images)

Anthonique Strachan followed up her 100m win on Wednesday by blazing her way around 200m of the Montjuic Olympic Stadium on Friday night in a Championships record of 22.53.

“I thought I might have 22.60 in me but I'm amazed I was able to go even faster. I'm really tired after seven races in four days, I would have loved to have also been contesting the 4x100m relay final but we didn't get the baton round in the heats so that's the Championships finished for me,” reflected Strachan, who moves up to ninth on the World junior all-time list after the fastest outing over what American writers like to call 'the furlong' for four years.

“I knew (the American sprinter) Dezerea Bryant was a very fast starter and she was in the lane outside me so I decided to feed off her start, which I did for a while, but I had to control my speed on the bend so that I could come home strong. I had to work the bend, letting my momentum drive me along,” added the 18-year-old from the Caribbean.

Her strength saw her pull away from any potential rivals for the gold medal in the final quarter of the race to come home over half-a-second clear of another member of the United States' team, eventual silver medallist Olivia Ekpone, who clocked 23.15.

The quickest woman out of her blocks, Bryant, was given the same time as her compatriot but eventually had to settle for the bronze medal after the judges had studied the photo-finish.

More battles between the trio now look to be staged in the coming years as Strachan looks set to move away from her Caribbean home and follow a well-trodden path to study at an American university in the near future.

College company

It would be indiscreet to mention where she has in mind as the formal paperwork has apparently yet to be done but astute observers of US college system will have little problem whittling down her potential destinations to a very short list.

“It's a place where there are already a lot Bahamian athletes and also Trinidad athletes, and it's a place where there are also some professional athletes still based like (her compatriot and 2008 Olympic Games Triple Jump bronze medallist) Leevan Sands and a lot more. There will be a lot of people I know there, I will not be lonely or short of company.”

She has not been lonely in Barcelona either. The Bahamian team and its supporters sitting in the stands have been one of the most colourful and noisy of all the 178 nations represented in the Catalan city, cheering on their athletes to the sound of what most Europeans would describe as Swiss cow bells.

Strachan has deservedly been their heroine over the past few days, doubling the number of gold medals won by Bahamas athletes in the history of Championships with only Shenique Ferguson 200m win in 2008 and Shaunae Miller's victory over 400m two years ago having provided a trip to the top of the podium before Strachan stretched out her long legs.

Miller messages

The quietly spoken but erudite Strachan benefited from Miller's experience in Moncton, Canada, two years ago, despite the fact the latter is almost a year younger than her team-mate.

“Shaunae told me just to stay calm and that the crowd was going to make a lot of noise. Usually I have a few problems hearing things with large crowds but Shaunae's advice worked.”

Every cloud has a silver lining and with the Bahamas' 4x100m relay team having been eliminated in the heats on Friday, Strachan can finally relax.

“I'm going to now be a tourist, I hope to see everything in the city now I'm done, but even if I didn't do anything away from the track, I can say I've enjoyed it so far. Even just looking out of the bus on the way to the track was fun.

However, everything is a little more fun when you have had two gold medals around your neck as Strachan became just the third person to do the sprint double at the IAAF World Junior Championships.

Phil Minshull for the IAAF
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