World relays: Steven Gardiner makes heartfelt pledge ahead of competing on home soil

World relays: Steven Gardiner makes heartfelt pledge ahead of competing on home soil

Festus Chuma 09:42 - 13.04.2024

Steven Gardiner aims for success at the World Athletics Relays 2024 in The Bahamas in May.

Steven Gardiner has pledged to deliver a memorable performance at the upcoming World Athletics Relays 2024 aiming to bring glory and joy to his homeland. 

As The Bahamas prepares to host this prestigious event on May 4 and 5 at the renovated Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, Gardiner is not just a participant; he is a beacon of hope and pride for a nation that cherishes its athletes.

At 28, Gardiner's return to compete on home soil evokes a flood of happy memories, particularly of winning gold in the mixed 4x400 meters relay the last time The Bahamas hosted the event. 

"It's very special to have the world relays at home. I'm training as much as I can to show my Bahamian pride so everyone can celebrate with joy," Gardiner expressed as per The Nassau Guardian.

Despite starting his racing career at 17, much later than his peers, Gardiner's rise has been meteoric. 

He made history by winning The Bahamas' first individual Olympic track medal for men in Tokyo 2021 and has since established himself as one of the most accomplished Bahamian athletes of all time.

His list of achievements is impressive: a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in the 4x400m relay, the world indoor 300m record, and national records in the 200m and 400m. 

Yet, it's his victory in the 400m at the Doha World Championships,amidst personal turmoil caused by Hurricane Dorian's devastation that stands out as a testament to his mental fortitude.

"I remember thinking about the hurricane before the race but focusing solely on winning during it. I wanted to bring some joy to the people," Gardiner added.

Living in Orlando, Florida, for training purposes has not diluted Gardiner's bond with The Bahamas. He visits his family in Abaco about three times per year and yearns for the warmth of Bahamian food and beaches. 

"Bahamian food – conch or something. ... I ask my mom to bring her cooking to Florida," he says, laughing, yet underscoring the simple pleasures that tie him to his homeland.

Gardiner's advice to young Bahamian athletes is as heartfelt as his commitment to his country.

"Never give up. People will try to discourage you, but once you get there, the same people will be at your feet. It’s up to you the life that you choose and not anybody else."

As the World Athletics Relays approach, Gardiner's focus is unwavering. 

Whether he competes in the men’s 4x400m or the mixed relay remains to be seen, but his goal is clear: to qualify The Bahamas for the Olympics and bring another gold medal home.

 "I’m everybody’s favorite uncle, brother, and cousin.When I win, they win," he concluded.

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