first_img VOCAL ON PLANS Ever since the United States-born new female sprinting sensation, Briana Williams, had double success for Jamaica at the World Under-20 Championships in Athletics, spirited controversy has filled the air. Based on the performances of the USA star, Twanysha Terry, prior to and during the 100m in Tampere, Finland, Williams was expected to trail her to the finish line. It did not quite go that way, with the Jamaican lass exploding out of the blocks a step ahead of Terry and proving unreachable throughout the race. Having put that to bed, another matter that was beyond expectation was Williams, a 16-year-old, lining up for the 200m. That title was taken as well against another well-lettered favourite in USA girl, Lauren Rain Williams, even more convincingly in a championship record. Briana had navigated six races in four days, putting many of her supporters in disbelief. Why was she asked to take on such an intensive workload, given her tender age? There are some factors which the naysayers seem not to have noticed. Briana’s coach is Ato Boldon, who, as a junior himself, successfully took on the double challenge when he competed for Trinidad & Tobago at the 1992 edition of the event in Seoul, South Korea. In post-competition interviews, he attempted to allay the fears of those who were opposing his choice for Briana. Chief among those concerns was that the ill-effects would not be seen until the athlete attained the senior level. Boldon, in response, reminded that his performances as an adult transitioning from the junior level were second to none other than the phenom, Usain Bolt. In fact, he was a senior World Champion in the 200m. Boldon, apart from answering his critics on Briana’s two-race diet, has been very vocal on his further plans to contribute to track and field, both for his home country and Jamaica. Coming from a position where his mother is Jamaican and his father is Trinidadian, he sees his roles having equal interest in both countries. In addition to Brianna, he coaches Khalifa St Fort, who has represented Trinidad and Tobago at the Olympics. The Trinidad track-and-field authorities have questioned Boldon’s capabilities as a coach and, in his mind, have not given him the recognition he thinks he deserves. This came out in a post he made on social media after his first triumph with Briana at the World Under-20s. He sent a “HUGE shout out to the Trinidad & Tobago track and field federation for the constant motivation this year”. It ended with the question which was clothed in sarcasm, “Do I know what I am doing now?” Given comments made by Boldon during track-and-field commentary at global events, he has not been a favourite of Jamaican fans. This is a reason which has been cited in a bid to have Briana seek coaching instructions in Jamaica. Foster’s Fairplay, especially after seeing the relationship Boldon shares with Brianna – one of expressed mutual respect – has no problem with accepting him as the way forward for her. It is simply a case of the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It is this columnist’s view that the future is bright for Brianna and no effort should be spared by local track-and-field authorities to have the union between the athlete and her Trinidadian coach cemented. -For feedback: email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *