Briana Williams 'blown away' by Laureus Awards experience

By February 18, 2019

Naomi Osaka walked away with the big prize at the 2019 Laureus Sports Awards in Monaco on Monday, but Jamaica’s Briana Williams and her coach Ato Boldon came away richer for the experience.

Williams, 16, arguably the standout emerging track and field athlete for 2018, was among five nominees for 2019 Laureus World Sports Award for Breakthrough of the Year.

Since 2000, the award is presented each year 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.

Osaka, who won the 2018 US Open defeating Serena Williams in the finals, was the overwhelming favourite and the judges obliged. However, the experience of being in Monaco was an unforgettable one for the 2018 World U20 Championships double gold medallist.

“I have been having a great time here. It is a pleasure to be here. I am seated next to Missy Franklin (five-time Olympic gold medallist). I’ve met Sergey Bubka, Edwin Moses, Marcus Allen, Cafu and so many other celebs. (I) really had a great time,” she told Sportsmax.TV from the awards ceremony on Monday.

She also met boxing legend Marvin Hagler and skateboard icon Tony Hawk.

But, of all the sporting celebrities she met, her meeting with Allen perhaps proved most valuable.

 Marcus Allen, an American Football legend, won Super Bowl XVIII with the Los Angeles Raiders in 1984 and was the Super Bowl MVP having carried the ball for 191 yards, including a 74-yard touchdown run that helped the Raiders to a 38-9 win over the Washington Redskins.

She said the NFL Hall of Famer provided her with some sterling advice.

“Marcus told me to start from now to dream about the impossible because when he dreamed it at age 11, everyone would have said it was impossible for him too,” she said. “But then put the work and passion behind it and that’s the recipe.”

Meanwhile, Boldon said, he too, was enraptured by the occasion.

“She and I are both blown away by tonight’s show,” he said.

“I’m definitely inspired as a coach, and she has sat next to me just slack-jawed at some of the amazing stories and athletes present tonight, and the many programs that, through sport, are making a huge impact around the world. I was a casual observer of this event before. I don’t think I’ll ever miss it again. It really shows the global power of sport.”



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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