Miller Uibo tuned for special 400m time
The ninth Diamond League event of the season rolls into Morocco tomorrow with the staging of the Meeting International Mohammed V1 Athletisme de Rabat, with the women's 400 metres again taking centre stage.
Rarely seen in the 400 metres this season, Olympic champion Shaunae Miller Uibo of The Bahamas, who had the previous world-leading time of 49.77 seconds when winning at the Shanghai Diamond League meet in May, has now slipped to number three on the World Top List as she has been passed by two athletes from the United States. Quanera Hayes, who won the USA National Championships in June in 49.72 seconds and in London recently, and Allison Felix, who had a titanic battle with the Bahamian in Rio, moved to the top with 49.65 seconds in only her second 400 metres race for the season.
Both Miller Uibo and Haynes will lock horns tomorrow for bragging rights and perhaps a confidence boost going into the World Championships with a low 49 seconds time on the cards here. Despite strange strategies by the top three female quarter-milers this season, with the trio running just a few races so far, this should not detract from what is expected to be a thriller.
While both Miller Uibo and Haynes look set to fight it out for the top spot, the other athletes in the event will not be coming to be spectators, and we could have some surprises here. Rio bronze medallist Shericka Jackson of Jamaica has been very ordinary so far this season, but she cannot be taken for granted as she usually peaks closer to a major championship and could use tomorrow's race to send a strong statement as she looks to improve on her season best of 50.05 seconds done in winning at the Jamaica National Championships.
KEEPING COMPETITORS ON TOES
The United Sates duo of Courtney Okolo and Natasha Hastings, along with Jamaican veteran Novlene Williams-Mills, have also all gone sub-50 seconds in their career and they should ensure that the others are kept on their toes.
Williams-Mills is the leader in the Diamond League races, ahead of Hastings, and will want to maintain her dominance over her opponents, while Okolo, who failed to make the United States team to the London World Championships, has been in good form recently, finishing second in back-to-back Diamond League races.
If all report in good shape, we could see something special going into London, but based on her improved speed this season over the 200 metres, the well-rested Miller Uibo could do something extra special tomorrow and drive fear into her opponents.