Abaco native, Steven Gardiner, pulled off an overwhelming upset at the Gyulai Istvan Memorial in Budapest, Hungary, as he came from behind to pass former reigning American world champion, LaShawn Merritt.
Gardiner, who recently broke his national record of 44.27 seconds at The Bahamas Association of Athletic’s National Championships clearly has no plans of slowing down. Crossing the finish at 44.30 seconds, Gardiner set yet another record while dethroning Merritt in the process.
Gardiner’s coach, George Cleare, has high expectations for the 19 year-old who continues to break old and set new records. According to Cleare, Gardiner is a “work in progress”. He went on to say that they were only “scratching the surface” as far as the potential that Gardiner possesses. He has been competing in the sport since his early teenage years and ran in the 400 meter at the national championships in 2013.
Much of his success can be attributed to the foundation set for him at home on Moore’s Island, Abaco. The climate in Abaco and the miles of untouched beaches, made it an ideal location for Gardiner to train outdoors, although the training grounds were far from the state-of-the-art facilities where he currently competes.
“The future of The Bahamas is being well represented by young athletes like Mr. Gardiner. We congratulate him and are excited to observe his career development and successes. These determined athletes are true ambassadors and represent The Islands Of The Bahamas globally. His success has now put his hometown, Moore’s Island in the spotlight,” said the Hon. Obie H. Wilchcombe, Minister of Tourism for The Bahamas.
“We are so proud of Steven and we thank everyone for their support. Steven is my hero,” said Theresa Gardiner, mother of Steven.
With his recent success comes high expectations as he sets his eyes on the Olympics where he will face reigning champion, Kirani James from Grenada. The competition is steep with many quality quarter mile runners competing; however, many are confident in Gardiner’s ability, including his coach, and believe he will make headlines in the 2016 Olympics.
By the looks of it, the focused Gardiner will be putting everything he has into preparation for the Olympic Games. As his career races off, the hopes, prayers and support of the Bahamian people and Moore’s Island will be with him through every stride.