2019 Doha Diary: Considering the Men's 400m champion Steven Gardiner, plus 8 questions with the World Champion...


AH_22471_20191004104128146_20191004112651.JPGSteven Gardiner, 400m champion, photo by Getty Images / IAAF

The men's 400m was an example of how the long season affects the events. The Doha schedule was perfect for Steven Gardiner!

Men's 400

With Wayde van Niekerk (champion in 2015 and 2017) absent through injury and the elimination of pre-event favourite Michael Norman in the semi-finals, the race was wide open. Steven Gardiner who had been second in London 2017 went one better this time with a victory in 43.48, almost a second quicker than his effort last year. Gardiner clearly likes Doha, having won the 2017 and 2018 Diamond League races here, albeit not on this track. In fact, Gardiner's last one-lap defeat when completing a 400m race came when winning world silver at the 2017 World Championships. His gold medal came a day after Shaunae Miller-Uibo's silver. What a shame the schedule prevented them from running together in the 4 by 400 mixed relay. It has been a tough year for Bahamas with Gardiner's grandmother's wooden house being flattened by Hurricane Dorian and his father's home also badly damaged.

H3__4250_20191004102429351_20191004112622.JPGAnthony Jose Zambano takes silver in 400m, photo by Getty Images / IAAF

Finally, it was great to see former World and Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada in the final, finishing fifth, after several years struggling to control Graves' disease.

The result was

1 Steven Gardiner 43.48

2 Antony Jose Zambrano 44.15

3 Fred Kerley 44.17

In his after race comments, Gardiner referred to the islands' problems: "I went through the rounds perfectly each day and I can't believe I am a world champion. It feels pretty good. It's so big to win two medals for The Bahamas after the hurricane. We did it for our country. Thank God, we were able to get two medals".

In case you don't know a lot about Steven Gardiner, I had the chance to ask him 8 questions

1. How did you start track and field?

Steven Gardiner: I started in 2012 in high school. My first ever coach was Pastor Anthony Williams. When I first went there to train, he asked me what event did I want to do. I said 100 and 200 but he said no let's try 400. So here I am in the 400.

2. In Beijing 2015 and Rio 2016 you reach the semi-finals, were you expecting more?

Steven Gardiner: Of course I was disappointed. I wanted to make the final. I was kinda upset but I didn't let it get the better of me.

3. Were you expecting a medal in London 2017?

Steven Gardiner: My aim for London was to make the podium, whatever medal I would get. I got silver. London was a good experience, making my first final. I was happy that I finally broke the semi-final barrier and made it to the final.

4. Do you mind which lane you run in?

Steven Gardiner: I like to run in the middle of the track. I don't like the outside, running blind. I like to see someone.

5. Are you a fan of the mixed 4 by 400 relay?

Steven Gardiner: I was in the winning team at the 2017 World Relays. I enjoyed it. It was my first time that doing a mixed relay and I always wanted to do one. It was a little strange to hand the baton to a girl, not a guy but was fun. . I think it's a good idea to have mixed relays in championships. Some countries don't have four men or four women so it gives them the chance of a medal.

6. Might you ever double up at 200 and 400 at a championship?

Steven Gardiner: The 200 is my first love. Doubling up would be a lot of work. Right know I can't say whether I would like to do at perhaps the time will come for it.

7. What is a typical training week for you?

Steven Gardiner: I train four days a week -Monday Tuesday Thursday Friday. I'm in the weight room three days. Practice is fun, it's not too serious we laugh and joke around but we still get the work done and I like it that way. Monday is always a hard day with a lot of running - 250s, 350s, broken runs

8. What do you do away from the track?

Steven Gardiner: I love to sleep. Spent time with the family. Eat good food. That's about it.

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