Briana Williams nominated for prestigious 2019 Laureus Sports Breakthrough Award

By January 17, 2019

In recognition of her outstanding break-out season last year, Jamaica’s fast-emerging track star Briana Williams has been nominated for the prestigious 2019 Laureus World Sports Award for Breakthrough of the Year.

The award, to be presented at the Laureus Awards ceremony in Monaco on Monday, February 18, will go to the sportsperson or team whose performance as a newcomer suggests the greatest potential for an outstanding career or to an established sportsman or sportswoman who produces a significant step-up in class to a considerably higher level of sporting achievement.

Williams, 16, is the first female Caribbean athlete and only the second Caribbean athlete nominated for the award. Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, in 2012, was the only other Breakthrough nominee.

“I’m extremely excited to be nominated for the Laureus award,” said a buoyant Williams, who won the sprint double at the 2018 IAAF U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland where she set a new personal best and championship record of 22.50s in the 200m.

“I know this is a very big achievement at my age given the history of who has been nominated in the past. I can’t wait to go, have fun and meet everyone. Being nominated for this prestigious award will push me to work harder to achieve my dreams.”

Her coach, Ato Boldon, believes these accolades are serving to motivate Briana to new levels of performance.

“Well, the other awards and nominations I saw coming. This is next level,” he said.

“As I told her, this is the Oscars for sport. I’m happy for her. I was guarding against her coming back after all the 2018 hoopla very complacent, but it has seemed to really incentivize her.

“She’s doing the things to break more records in 2019. She won’t be ready to run fast as early as she was in 2018, but later in the year, when she needs to be, she will be ready for anyone.”

In addition to her accomplishments at the World U20 Championships, Williams set an age-group record for 15-year-olds of 11.13s at the Bob Hayes Invitational. She also won three gold medals at the 2018 Carifta Games in the Bahamas and with it the Austin Sealy Award.

Incidentally, prior to Williams winning the award, Yohan Blake was the last Jamaican athlete to do so.

The other nominees for the 2019 award are Ana Carrasco, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Naomi Osaka, Geraint Thomas, and Sofia Goggia.

If she wins, Williams will join an illustrious group of athletes who have won the Breakthrough Award. Previous winners golfer Sergio Garcia (2000), tennis star Andy Murray (2013), and five-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton (2008).


Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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