Shaunae Miller-Uibo would love to add world outdoor 400 metres gold to her Olympic title, not just for personal reasons but to bring some joy to the Bahamas which was left devastated by Hurricane Dorian.
The 25-year-old has already donated $25 000 to the island communities of Grand Bahama and Abaco which bore the brunt of Dorian’s fury in early September leaving 52 people dead with as many as 1 300 still listed as missing a week ago.
More than 7 000 inhabitants of the Abacos or Grand Bahama lost their homes, and 2 000 are still living in shelters.
“We are a strong nation, our people are proud, loving and patriotic,” Miller-Uibo wrote on her Instagram page after setting up an account for donations.
“However, now we are a nation in mourning.
“Communities have been left desolate, people have lost loved ones, many have lost their homes and many urgently require food, water and supplies.
“I am pledging $25 000 and I hope to raise as much as I can to help with the restoration of the hearts of our people and our beautiful landscape,” added Miller-Uibo, who cannot escape athletics in her domestic life as she is married to Estonian decathlete Maicel Uibo.
Should Uibo-Miller win the world title – she looked set to win it two years ago in London but tied up dreadfully in the home straight – she would collect $60 000, which is likely to find its way to the hurricane damage fund.
THE 400 IS MY BABY
This extra motivation makes the tall, powerful athlete – who took up running aged six before realising just three years later she could probably make a living out of it – even more dangerous to her rivals.
Aside from great natural talent – and a quixotic choice of hair dye ranging from blue to pink – she also possesses a steely determination to win at all costs as she memorably displayed in the 2016 Olympic 400m final.
With Allyson Felix closing fast, Miller-Uibo’s legs began giving out and she stumbled close to the line but showed great presence of mind to dive over it to secure gold.
This time round Miller-Uibo – whose strong Christian beliefs come, she says, from having many pastors among her uncles – will hope not to have to resort to such dramatic efforts.
She comes to Doha after a phenomenal past two seasons in which she has been unbeaten in the 200m and the 400m. However, due to scheduling issues she is unable to compete at both distances in Doha.
Thus she has opted for the one-lap race and it will take a remarkable performance to beat her.
“The 400 is my baby and is the event I like to focus on,” she told www.runblogrun.com in February this year.
“It’s my favourite and the one I think I’m better at. The 400m is a tough event but that’s what I love about it.
“It’s not an event that anyone can just pop in and do it but that’s what makes me love it a bit more. “It’s a tough event and I love to go at it.”