Ato Boldon salutes brilliant Briana WIlliams

Observer writer

Friday, July 13, 2018

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TAMPERE, Finland — Ato Boldon has praised his young protégé Briana Williams after her stunning win in the women's 100m at the IAAF World Under-20 Championships here yesterday, calling the 16-year-old “a winner and a championship performer”.

After rounds of 11.28 seconds and 11.25 seconds, Williams, the youngest in the field, got off to her customary bullet start and held her form and poise to land the gold in 11.16 seconds (0.0m/s), beating American Twanisha Terry (11.19 seconds) and Great Britain's Kristal Awuah (11.37).

Terry had set the tone earlier in the day in the semi-finals when she blasted from the blocks and powered her way to a Championships record 11.03 seconds, breaking the 11.07 seconds set two years ago by her compatriot Candace Brown in Bydgoszcz, Poland two years ago.

An effusive Boldon said given what he saw from her in training, he was not surprised that she would deliver so early and in such a dramatic form and joked that his only regret was she had not dipped under her personal best 11.13 seconds.

“I am not surprised... when this girl was training this year I said nothing she runs this year, nothing she does this year will surprise me. My one regret is she did not get the personal record that we came for, but nobody will care. She is the World Under-20 champion at age 16, the youngest in the field, and she wins,” said the Trinidadian.

Williams got off fast and led that field, and when the field closed on her, she never panicked, but instead held her form to win.

“That's the part (innate quality) I can't coach... she comes with that, she came to me with that. This is a young lady that has been rattling off win in the junior and youth circuits in America and I got her at the right time. She is a winner, she is a championship performer; that's why you can out her in with older athletes.

“People don't realise how special Briana is, they will understand it now and Jamaica understands it because they saw her at CARIFTA and saw her run against the big girls,” Boldon said.

Boldon thanked Jamaica's Olympic champions Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce for the impact they have had on the young runner in the races she had against them.

“I want to take a moment to thank Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, those are the only people she lost to in the 100m and both of them when she lost said 'you are doing well keep it going' and that meant so much to her, so when you run against the last two Olympic champions, with all due respect, you don't care about juniors, you just focus on coming out here and executing,” he noted.

Boldon said he was not worried when the American ran the fast time in the semi-finals.

“When you are a young coach people take shots at you, they say he is the guy from TV, he does not know what he is talking about. We know what the game plan was, run conservatively in the first and in the second round, let the others go after the times, then drop it in the final. I know the way this girl starts (and) she puts people under pressure, and when you are under pressure early, it's hard to respond,” the beaming coach said.

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