Double gold Brianna

Starlet Briana Williams completes sprint double in record fashion

Observer Writer

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Print this page Email A Friend!

TAMPERE, Finland — A priceless sprint double from the incomparable Briana Williams in record time and a National Junior Record run for silver from the men's 4x100m team earned another two medals for Jamaica on yesterday's penultimate day of the IAAF World Under-20 Championship in Tampere, Finland.

A sublime 22.50 seconds (0.1m/s) from the mercurial 16-year-old came like a bolt of lightning out of the blue to the delight of the fair-sized crowd on a bright and sunny day, as she completed a rare sprint double after she won the 100m on Thursday, breaking the Championships Record as well as rewrite the Jamaican national youth and junior records in one fell swoop.

Her time beats the NJR 22.71 seconds set by Simone Facey in 2004 and is the 21st best ever by an Under-20 runner. It also the erased NYR 22.72 seconds set in March this year by Kevona Davis and is the fifth-best ever for an athlete under the age of 18.

It also beat the Championship Record of 22.53 seconds (0.2m/s) set by Anthonique Strachan of The Bahamas in Barcelona, Spain, in 2012.

The Carifta Games Under-17 sprint double champion this year became only the fourth woman to achieve the feat at the IAAF World Under-20 level, joining Jamaica's Veronica Campbell Brown — who was the first woman to win the double in 2000 in Santiago de Chile — Bulgaria's Tezdzhan Naimova in China in 2006, and Strachan of The Bahamas in 2012.

Later the team of Xavier Nairne, Christopher Taylor, Jhevaughn Matthison and Michael Stephens surprised themselves with a 38.96 seconds time despite some not so slick baton changes.

With one day to go where Jamaica are in four finals, they have nine medals of three gold, four silver and two bronze, equal to their second best tally ever achieved in 1992 in Seoul, South Korea, and 2004 in Grosetto, Italy.

Jamaica's largest tally came in Kingston in 2002 when the team earned 11 medals.

Also yesterday, Leonardo Ledgister ran back-to-back personal bests as he clocked 49.93 seconds to be the fastest Jamaican junior male over 400m hurdles this year and third best all times. He finished in fourth place.

It was Williams, one of the youngest members of the Jamaican delegation, who shone brightest, however, and was described by the stadium announcer as “a 16-year-old sprinting superstar” who managed to surprise even herself.

Earlier in the week Williams had told journalists she was hoping to get personal bests in both events, and while she came up short in the 100m, she smashed her previous lifetime best in the 200m of 23.11, saying she thought “maybe I would run about 22.70 seconds, but I never thought 22.50 seconds”.

As surprised as anyone else, Williams said: “I am very, very surprised that I ran 22.50, my first time under 23 seconds. I am so happy. The sprint double champion is a big thing because it's hard to double, but this is what I have been training all this season for, so I am glad I came out here and got two gold medals.”

After a very busy week with six races in three days, she said fatigue was a factor. “I wasnt feeling so energised, I was a bit tired, but I am just glad that I [ran my personal best],” she said.

Her coach Ato Boldon was not surprised, however, saying he knew from as far back as the Carifta Games that 22.50 was possible.

“No, I am not surprised... we came here to shock the world. Briana ran a semi-finals at the Carifta Games and I said to her 'Briana, you stopped running at 150m and you ran 23.5' I said you can run 22.5, but the athletes don't believe you. I am a coach, I know numbers. This is not a surprise to me... the last thing I told her before the race was this was going to be easier than the 100m,” he said.

A faulty start added to the tension that was already in the stadium just before the start and Williams had the fourth fastest reaction time, but caught the field at about 90 metres. By the time they came off the curve, she was ahead and kept widening the gap to beat the American Lauren Williams, who had the fastest time going into the final and finished second in 23.09 seconds, with Poland's Marytna Kotwila taking third in a National Junior Record 23.21 seconds.

After the massive disappointment of the disqualification of the men's 4x400m team in the morning, the sprint relay team went some ways to make amends by shaving one hundredth of a second off the old mark of 38.97 seconds.

Christopher Taylor came in for Orlando Bennett who anchored the team in the semi-finals on Friday, and along with some switches in the order of running, the team came up just short of their first win since 2006.

The Unite States won their first event of the week, running a World junior-leading 38.88 seconds, while Germany took the bronze in 39.22 seconds.

Ledgister put in a courageous run but came up short of a medal as he improved his lifetime best for the second time in 24 hours in a 49.93 seconds beating teammate Malik James-King who was fifth in 50.25 seconds.

Only-two-time IAAF World Under-20 champion Jaheel Hyde (48.81 seconds) and Marvin Williams, who ran 49.90 seconds twice, have gone faster than Ledgister, who just edged ahead of Rovane Williams' 49.94 seconds.

Ledgister took a massive one tenth of a second off his previous best 50.13 seconds that he had run in the semi-finals a day before, as he earned a spot in the finals as one of the fastest losers.

Sokwakhana Zazini completed the double for South Africa by winning in 49.42 seconds after his compatriot Zeney Van Der Walt won the female event a day earlier.

Qatar's Bassem Hemeida took the silver medal with a personal best 49.59 seconds, while Brasil's Alison Dos Santos also ran a lifetime best 49.78 seconds to take the bronze ahead of Ledgister.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon