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WORLD 400 metre champion Steven Gardiner refuted claims by Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ president Drumeco Archer that the reason why the Bahamas will not be entered in the fifth World Athletics Relays is because of the unavailability of himself and Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo.
#The World Relays, which were removed from the Bahamas after the hosting of the first three editions in 2019 and staged in Yokohama, Japan for the fourth edition, are scheduled for May 1-2 at the Silesian Stadium in Chorzow, Poland.
#World Athletics, formerly called the International Amateur Athletic Federation, has announced that so far, 127 relay teams from 37 countries will compete in Silesia.
#Archer, in making the announcement to The Tribune on Wednesday, said: “We didn’t have athletes who are available to compete. Shaunae (Miller-Uibo) and Steven (Gardiner) camp indicated that they have decided not to travel outside of the US because of COVID-19”.
#Gardiner, who won the gold medal in the men’s 400m at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar in 2019, said Archer’s claim is absolutely not true.
#“Each time there are relays to run, my name, my image and my reputation gets dragged through the mud. I want to set the record straight,” Gardiner said. “Ever since my first competition for the senior team it has been one conflict after another and my name is always brought up.
#“My management did indicate to the BAAA my availability to compete at the 2021 World Relays.”
#Archer, however, said: “We have done all we can to get the athletes to compete. I can’t speak for Shaunae’s or Steven’s camp. We have always asked for their participation.
#“We have communicated with their management team for them to compete under the banner of the Bahamas, particularly for relay duties.
#“They are two global beaters, and they certainly make a difference. We have expressed our concerns at every level, management and personal, for them to compete in the relays. The decision ultimately rests with them. They will have to decide if they are going to compete or not.”
#Gardiner said he has decided to compete at the 2021 World Relays in Poland. He said he could not speak on behalf of Miller-Uibo, who was unavailable for comments.
#“The Bahamian people must hear my side of the story,” Gardiner said.
#“My story is that I did indicate personally and through my management company that I was available to compete.”
#Gardiner, the 25-year-old native of Moore’s Island, Abaco, and the national record holder in the 200 and 400m, is managed by On Track Management, Inc., headed by Claude Bryan, the chief executive officer.