Olympic medalist Steven Gardiner began the 2018 International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) Diamond League circuit on a high note, setting a national record, personal best, meeting record and world leading time all in one race.
Gardiner won the men’s 400-metres (m) in Doha, Qatar, in 43.87 seconds, leaving the competition far behind in the quarter mile. Abdalleleh Haroun from Qatar, was second in 44.50 seconds and Isaac Makwala from Botswana, finished third in 44.92 seconds.
With the win, Gardiner earned eight Diamond League points. The athlete with the most points in a respective event will be crowned the “IAAF Diamond League Champion” and be awarded a Diamond Trophy, $50,000 and a wild card for the IAAF World Championships.
At each qualification meeting, $30,000 in prize money is awarded per discipline. Each qualification meeting will stage either 13 or 14 Diamond disciplines, meaning the total prize money awarded at a single qualification meet will total either $420,000 or $390,000.
Gardiner set another national record last month however, it wasn’t in his specialty – the 400m.
Against a competitive field, Gardiner became the first Bahamian to go under 20 seconds in the men’s 200m dash, crossing the line in 19.75 seconds at the 2018 Miami Hurricanes Alumni Invitational in Miami, Florida.
Michael Mathieu previously held the record of 20.16 seconds, which he ran at the 2012 Grand Prix Caixa Governo in Pera, Belem, Brazil.
Gardiner, who was also the first and only Bahamian to go under 44 seconds in the 400m said, his ultimate goal is to run the double (200m and 400m) at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
“Last year I was focusing on the 400m and this year my focus is on the 200m,” Gardiner said.
“This is my first time putting together a race like this, so I now know what to expect when I run it again.”
High Jumpers Donald Thomas and Jamal Wilson also competed in Doha on Wednesday. Thomas finished third with a leap 2.30m and earned six Diamond League points, while Wilson was ninth with a final mark of 2.20m.