For Kadecia Baird, Friday, the 13th of July 2012 was a super day, a magnificent day for her if you will. It was the day she set Guyana’s junior female 400m record (51.04) at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships in Barcelona, Spain which ended last weekend. Not only did she defy the myth around Friday, the 13th, but she silenced detractors who claimed she lacked the capacity and the tenacity to perform effectively at “big” meets.
Young Baird copped the silver medal in 51.04secs, out-running a strong field that included the defending Champion Shaunee Miller (Bahamas) (51.78), Erika Rucker (USA) (51.10), and Chris-Ann Gordon (Jamaica) (52. 31). The gold medal was won by Ashley Spencer of the USA in a new meet record and personal best time of 50.50 seconds. Spencer, who will begin her second year of University this fall, was also the 2012 NCAA 400m champion.
Baird joins Guyana veteran Aliann Pompey as the only women from that country to run the 400m in under 52 seconds. The difference between the two ladies is that Pompey set the present Guyana record (50.71) when she was just past her 30th birthday, at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany while Baird, the Guyana junior record holder, will be entering her senior year in high school at Medgar Evers Prep in Brooklyn, New York in September 2012.
Ironically, prior to Baird’s 2012 World Junior Championship record run, a controversy began brewing in Guyana track and field over Kadecia and Pompey. Unlike most countries, Guyana does not have track and field trials to select its athletes for the Olympics. Instead, the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) selects the athletes, and has selected Pompey a three-time Olympian for that country. According to an article published in the Guyana Times of June 17, 2012, Pompey was selected based on a time of 51.66 which she ran in July 2011.
Meets Olympic 'A' Standard
The issue became controversial because up to the point of the GOA selection, Baird had registered the fastest 400m time for the year for that country. She ran 52.14secs on June 16, 2012 at the USA New Balance National High School Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina. The GOA was, however, redeemed for their decision when Pompey ran 52.10 at the 2012 USATF Club Championships on July 6-7 in Omaha, Nebraska.
Baird’s 51.04 at the World Juniors last week is not only the fastest time by a Guyanese female this year, but also an Olympic female 400m ‘A’ standard qualifier. The call now is for Guyana’s Track and Field President Colin Boyce to use his influence and do the right thing to ensure that this 17-year-old, who has clearly qualified, be given a place on the Guyana Olympic team to London even as an alternate.
Her overall performance on the track this year strongly suggests that she deserves the opportunity to represent her country at the high level as she continues to make the people of Guyana at home and abroad proud.