(Reuters) – Bahama’s Shaunae Miller-Uibo has hit out at athletics chiefs over the scheduling of races that could derail her hopes of becoming the first runner to claim a 200-400 metres Olympic double in 25 years.
The women’s 400m semi-finals at this year’s Tokyo Games are scheduled to take place two days before the final, as compared to the men’s event, which has an extra day’s gap.
An overlap of the 200m and 400m races also mean Miller-Uibo, who won gold in the 400m at the Rio Olympics five years ago, will have to run twice on successive days if she wants to secure the double, while the men will only have to do so once.
The 26-year-old, who aims to emulate Michael Johnson, Marie-Jose Perec and Valerie Brisco-Hooks, said the Bahamas Olympic Committee’s request to amend the schedule had been rejected.
“As much as I wanted a new title in the 200 metres, I also wanted to defend my Olympic one,” Miller-Uibo told The Times. “The guys have an opportunity where their events don’t clash and so all we were asking for was an opportunity to double.
“With the guys they had a two-day break between the 400m semis and final. Had they opened that up for the girls then it would have been fine.”
Miller-Uibo said she was almost certain to ignore the 400m, shifting her focus to the shorter distance and a potential battle with Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith.
“She’s a great competitor,” Miller-Uibo said. “I think we’ll bring the best out of each other.”
Miller-Uibo’s comments come days after World Athletics announced a series of pledges to “further advance the role of girls and women” in the sport.
(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)