While Bahamian youth, junior and collegiate athletes continue to shine each week, there has been flashes of brilliance on the senior side among some of the country’s elite athletes.
After the Grenada Invitational was canceled, multi-events athletes Kendrick Thompson and Ken Mullings, who have been rewriting history in the men’s decathlon for The Bahamas, were forced to take their talents to Central Europe, taking part in the Hypomeeting Götzis at Mösle-Stadium, in Götzis, Austria, over the weekend.
Both Thompson and Mullings turned in career-best performances, finishing ninth and tied for 15th, respectively. Thompson became the first Bahamian to score over 8,000 points in the men’s decathlon, piling up 8.015 points at his previous meet – the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, California, in. April. This time, Thompson improved the Bahamian national record to 8,182 points, inching closer and closer to the world championships qualifying mark of 8,460 points.
In achieving the lifetime best of 8,182 points, Thompson had personal best times and marks in the 100 meters (m), 110m hurdles, long jump and discus events. Additionally, he had season’s best marks in the 400m, 1,500m and high jump events. He matched his season and personal best performance in the pole vault, and was just off his season and personal best performance in the javelin. The shot put was the only event in which he was significantly below par, about a meter and a half below season and personal best performance.
Thompson ran 10.28 seconds in the 100m, 14.40 seconds in the 110m hurdles, 47.22 seconds in the 400m and 4:56.44 in the 1,500m. He leapt 7.48m (24’ 6-1/2”) in the long jump, 2m (6’ 6-3/4”) in the high jump and 4.50m (14’ 9-1/4”) in the pole vault. He had throws of 41.99m (137’ 9”) in the discus, 13.48m (44’ 2-3/4”) in the shot put and 64.63m (212’) in the javelin.
Mullings was also in action at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold Meet in Götzis, and also performed well, scoring 7.983 points – just shy of the 8,000-point plateau. Mullings turned in a personal best time in the 110m hurdles (13.71 seconds), and matched a personal best mark in the pole vault competition. He soared 4.60m (15’ 1”).
Mullings ran 10.60 seconds in the 100m, 49.84 seconds in the 400m and 5:17.38 in the 1,500m. He leaped 7.26m (23’ 10”) in the long jump and 2.06m (6’ 9”) in the high jump. Additionally, Mullings had throws of 43.64m (143’ 2”) in the discus, 14.87m (48’ 9-1/2”) in the shot put and 56.59m (185’ 8”) in the javelin.
Just his time in the 1,500m was significantly his personal best time – almost half of a minute slower.
The Bahamas’ decathlete duo have been back and forth in the men’s decathlon over the last four years – taking their turns at the national record.
Mullings first took down a 30-year mark in April of 2019, scoring 7,427 points at the University of Miami (UM) Hurricane Alumni Invitational in Coral Gables, Florida. Since then, the national record has been broken seven times – twice by Mullings and five times by Thompson, with the new record standing at 8,182 points, accomplished by Thompson in Götzis, Austria, over the weekend.
Over at the Mohammed VI International Athletics Meeting in Rabat, Morocco, a couple of Bahamians were in action.
Anthonique Strachan, now 29, is quietly turning in the best season of her life. She ran a personal best time of 22.15 seconds in the 200m at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Sports Complex in Rabat, finishing second to Jamaican World Champion in that event Shericka Jackson.
Jackson ran a meet record and season’s best time of 21.98 seconds for the win. Strachan was second in 22.15, shaving almost two tenths of a second off her previous personal best time of 22.32 seconds that was ran 10 years ago. American Tamari Davis finished third, crossing the line in 22.30 seconds.
Strachan has qualified for the world championships this summer in both short sprints.
In the men’s 400m, Olympic and former World Champion Steven Gardiner was in action, continuing his return from a heel injury that forced him to miss seven months of the 2022 season, including his title defense at the 18th World Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, USA, last July.
On Sunday, running out of lane eight, Gardiner won in 44.70 seconds. American Vernon Norwood finished second in 45.11 seconds and Jamaican national record holder Rusheen McDonald rounded out the top three in 45.55 seconds.
The next Diamond League meet on the calendar is the Golden Gala set for the Olympic Stadium in Rome, Italy, this coming Friday.