Briana Williams and her handlers are taking a positive outlook on the postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

In the seven years they have been together, Ato Boldon and Briana Williams have enjoyed a successful relationship as coach and athlete. In that time, the Trinidadian coach has guided the now 18-year-old Jamaican to several records and titles that have seen her stocks rise as one of the emerging athletes of the near future.

Late last year, Williams, who celebrated her 18th birthday on March 21, 2020, signalled her arrival among the professional ranks when she signed a multi-year professional contract with Nike.

It was just two years ago, in mid- March of 2018, that Williams signalled to the world that she was on her way when she set the 100m world age-group record for 15-year-old girls of 11.13 at the Bob Hayes Classic in Jacksonville, Florida.

Mere weeks later, she won three gold medals at the Carifta Games and claimed the coveted Austin Sealy Award as the most outstanding athlete of the meet.

However, it was the summer of 2018 that she demonstrated the immense depth of her talent when at the age of 16 she defied the odds to win the 100m and 200m titles at the World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland.

The year 2019 was to prove as successful even though there would be a bump in the road.

At what would be her final Carifta Games, Williams repeated her exploits of 2018 and won the Austin Sealy Award for a second time.

She would go on to win the NACAC U18 100m title as well as the Pan Am U20 title and set a World U18 record of 10.94s when she finished third at the Jamaican national championships in June beaten only by world-leading times of 10.73s run by Olympic champions Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

However, the 10.94 was erased after she failed a drug test having ingested Pharma Cold and Flu tablets tainted with the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ). She was reprimanded by a Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel and missed a chance to compete at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

It turned out to be a pit stop in her burgeoning career as greater things clearly await.

But, what is it like for her coach, shaping the future of a confident but headstrong 18-year-old?

Boldon shed some light on their relationship, first revealing that he did not start out intending to coach a then precocious 11-year-old Williams.

“I wasn’t really thinking about coaching her. I was more fundraiser in chief when it came time to find the money for her summer meets. Whatever shortfall she had after we did her go fund me, I made up,” he said.

Having ended up coaching her, Boldon said they now share a solid and fruitful connection.

“The relationship really is a good one. I think Briana and I know each other very well. I have to deal with the fact that she is a headstrong teen, she has to deal with the fact that my patience is about a quarter-of-an-inch long. I notice now when I go off on her over something, her attitude is “ok here he goes, he’ll be ok once he’s done," he said, explaining why he believes they are perfect for each other.

“Briana and I are both very interested in history. That’s why it works. It also works because she trusts me implicitly. The last three seasons have gone exactly as I told her they would in terms of times and performances.

“I’d like to think she’s inherited her sense of history from me. If it’s been done before, I am not really interested in it. I want her to blaze new trails and create history. I’m not sure she felt that way before. Her age-group world record in 2018 changed that. Hearing “Fastest 15-year-old girl ever” changed her mind quickly.”

It has not all been smooth sailing, however. After all, Briana is still a teenager.

“Briana is very headstrong. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I tell people all the time, go look at the Kentucky Derby. You’ll see a horse that refuses to get in that starting gate. He’s not interested, won't conform, doesn’t care if the world is waiting,” he said.

“Briana can be like that, and I don’t like to be challenged when I’m coaching so it leads to some interesting interactions between us. Being headstrong I think is a trait of most great sprinters, so I’d never try to kill that part of her.”

There is a method, though, to getting the best from her.

“Once Briana sees results, she’ll do exactly what you want - and ask for more. There are workouts in 2018-2019 that I wanted to use sparingly because she’s 16 (now 17) and she’s like "coach we haven't done Workout X in a while…why not…?” and you realize “oh, she understands what that will do for her, she’s not afraid of the pain and she’s not going to avoid doing it again either."

Boldon, the first world junior champion to become a world champion at the senior level, said Williams is chest-deep in talent.

 “Briana has natural gifts that I’ve never seen. I've never seen someone at her age start like that. When it’s a big occasion, her start never deserts her. World under-20 final 100m, Jamaican Nationals 2019, 100m. I had pro sprinters in my camp that she could hold her own with - at age 14,” he said.

“I had to completely revamp her strength training this season because she can lift whatever I throw at her, but I will need that in her 20s and 30s. I can get around doing that stuff now. From hip to knee, she’s a beast. Grown men see her doing Olympic lifts in the gym and can't believe it. Much of speed is about strength to weight. She only weighs 125lb, but for her size, she’s extremely strong.”

He said he has no real issues in keeping her motivated, a critical component of her achieving greatness as she transitions to the senior ranks.

“She’s very motivated on her own. She doesn’t need me for that - until it’s something she hasn’t thought of. She knew she wanted to win World under 20s in the 100m in 2018 - even though she was only 16,” he said.

“I knew she could win both. She had to be convinced about the 200m. In 2018, people online were trying to tell her that she shouldn't be running with pros e.g. at Racers Grand Prix. Maybe she believed some of them. I convinced her otherwise. I don’t have to convince her much anymore.”

The Covid-19 pandemic will slow Briana Williams in 2020 as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics might be postponed until 2021. However, all that would do is delay the inevitable rise of the next female star of track and field.

Concerns regarding the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus has led to the postponement of the 2020 Grenada Invitational, organisers said in a statement today.

A world-class cast of athletes including double-Olympic champion Elaine Thompson Herah, world-champion Anderson Peters and fast-rising teen star Briana Williams, have been confirmed for the 2020 edition of the Grenada Invitational that was launched on Wednesday at the Radisson Beach Resort, St. George’s.

Jamaica's sprint sensation Briana Williams said she is excited about lining up against six-time Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix over 60m at the 113th NYRR Millrose Games on Saturday, February 8 at the Armoury Track & Field Centre in New York.

 It will be the first time the 17-year-old sprinter will race against the decorated American. The stacked field also includes Jamaica’s Trudy Ann Williamson, the USA’s Morolake Akinuson, Hannah Cunliffe, Teahna Daniels, Javianne Oliver, Deajah Stevens and Germany’s Tatjana Pinto.

 “I'm excited about the line-up. I’ve been looking up to Allyson ever since I started track so this is pretty awesome that I get to race against her. She has accomplished so much, especially at a young age,” said Williams who raced to a fast 7.15-second outdoor run in Kingston last month.

 She opened her 2020 season with a personal best 7.25 seconds at the Clemson University's Orange & Purple Elite Invitational on January 4,

 In contrast to Williams’ excitement about racing her idol, Coach Ato Boldon sees this as just another 60m race in William's 2020 preparation.

 "Training has been exceptional so I expect another PR from Briana this weekend. She has run against the two Olympic 100m champions on multiple occasions...she won't be overwhelmed by the spotlight."

Briana Williams lived up to expectations on Saturday night when she blazed to a 7.15-second run to win a specially arranged 60m run at the Queens/Grace Jackson Invitational at the National Stadium in Kingston.

Newly signed Nike star Briana Williams and veteran sprinter Nesta Carter have been confirmed for the 2020 edition of the Queens/Grace Jackson meet set for Saturday, January 25 starting at 8:30 am.

Briana Williams has gone pro!

The 17-year-old Jamaican, who had an outstanding year in 2019, has signed a multi-year contract with Nike. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Recognized as one of the rising stars in track and field having won the sprint double at the World U20 Championships in Tampere in 2018, Williams was courted by a number of shoe companies with PUMA and Nike being the frontrunners.

Nike eventually won the right to the signature of the talented teen, whose coach Ato Boldon confirmed the signing to Sportsmax.TV.

“Briana has had people dedicated to her abilities for many years. Even before me, Coach Tennessee and Coach Damion Thomas, have done right by her,” Boldon said.

“I was just handed the baton for this leg of the race, but I’ve been around this industry a long time and for a company like Nike, who can back anyone, to put this level of support behind Briana, makes all of the work over the last five years, worth it. She is extremely blessed and fortunate to be where she is at just 17.”

Williams, who turns 18 in March, said the Nike deal has provided a platform for her to chase her dreams.

“I’m extremely proud. I have come a long way. This is a big deal for me because I’m young but I’m ready to show the world what I am capable of,” said Williams who now belongs to the group (HSI) that includes indoor 400m WR holder Mike Norman and world champions Christian Coleman and Dalilah Muhammad.

“I’m glad that Nike gave me this opportunity. It means the world to me as a girl with big dreams.”

The year 2019 was a big year for Williams. She won the 100m at the NACAC U18 Championships in Mexico and the Pan Am U20 Championships in Costa Rica during the year in which she ran unbeaten at the junior level.

She also won the Austin Sealy Award at the CARIFTA Games for the second year running after winning three gold medals, duplicating her achievements in 2018. In June, she set a Jamaican junior record of 11.02s in New Mexico.

Track & Field News, considered the bible of the sport, recognized her stellar year by naming her their High School Athlete of the Year for 2019.

The prodigious teen suffered a setback during the year when she returned an adverse finding for a banned diuretic found in her urine sample at the Jamaican National Championships in June where she finished third in the 100m behind two-time Olympic champions Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

As such, her time of 10.94s, which would have been a U18 world record and a national junior record for Jamaica, was subsequently struck from the record books.

Following a hearing before an Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel in September, Williams was reprimanded but was free to compete. However, due to how late the verdict came, her chances of competing at the 2019 World Championships in Doha were effectively dashed.

Young Jamaican sprinter Briana Williams lowered her 60m personal best again at the Clemson University's Orange & Purple Elite Invitational on Saturday.

Jamaica's 17-year-old sprint sensation Briana Williams opened her 2020 season with a personal best 7.27 seconds in the heats of the women's 60m at the Clemson University's Orange & Purple Elite Invitational on Saturday.

The final is scheduled for later.

Williams' 7.27-second clocking beat her previous personal best of 7.28 seconds, a time she posted in March 2019  to beat an elite high school field at New Balance Nationals Indoor. 

Jayla Kirkland of Florida State finished second in 7.29 seconds, while Gabriele Cunningham, running unattached, was well beaten into third in 7.36 seconds.

The race not only represents the first for Williams but the first for the teenager since being found not to have been at fault by the Independent Anti-Doping Panel in September 2019 following a positive drug test.

She took an over-the-counter flu remedy during the Jamaican trials in June which had the banned diuretic Hydrochlorothiazide among its components.

The young sprinter then decided in September to withdraw from the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, a competition she had qualified for at the trials.

Williams, who is based in Florida, will next be in action at the Queen's School/Grace Jackson Invitational in Kingston, Jamaica on January 25, also over 60m.

She is also scheduled to take on a strong field with five Olympians, also over 60m,  at the 113th NYRR Millrose Games on Saturday, February 8 at the Armory Track & Field Center in New York.

Track & Field News, widely recognized as the bible of the sport, has named Jamaica’s Briana Williams as the 2019 High School Girls Athlete of the Year.

Lawyers representing the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) are proceeding to initiate legal action against noted attorney Dr Emir Crowne after the latter refused to apologize for alleged defamatory comments he made about the commission in  August this year.

Noted sports attorney Dr. Emir Crowne will not be apologizing to the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) for comments he made about the commission in the days leading up to the anti-doping hearing involving Jamaican sprinter Briana Williams.

Dr. Emir Crowne, who represented Briana Williams during her anti-doping hearing last month, is facing legal action from the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), who claim they have been defamed by the noted attorney.

Newly-crowned 100m World Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has offered kind words of encouragement to young compatriot Briana Williams who missed out on an appearance at the Doha Championships after being embroiled in a doping controversy.

The 17-year-old Williams was hit with a reprimand after returning an adverse analytical finding, following the Jamaica National Championships.  The athlete, who returned a test for the banned diuretic Hydrochlorothiazide, provided the explanation that the substance was part of a contaminated batch of flu medication she had ingested on the morning of the championships. 

An Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel ruling on the matter issued Williams with a reprimand and did not prescribe any period of ineligibility for the athlete but based on the IAAF’s rules the results earned at Jamaica’s National Trials were scrubbed from the record. Williams had secured her spot on the World Championship team after finishing third behind Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson in the 100m.  Though selected to the team the athlete later withdrew after being replaced by Jonielle Smith for the 100m and facing time considerations for the relay squad.

“I’ve been in that situation before when I took a painkiller and it was very hard for me to come back and not focus on that incident,” Fraser-Pryce said.

In 2010, Fraser-Pryce served a six-month ban after testing positive for Oxycodone at the Shanghai Diamond League meeting.  The athlete had taken the substance to provide relief for a severe toothache.

“It happens, unfortunately.  I would not have wished that on anyone, and I hope that she can stay strong and stay motivated and forget about what anyone else has to say.  It’s about what you know and what you believe, and you can come back from anything.”

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