After silencing critics, Briana Williams looks ahead to Jamaica's National Senior Championships

By June 06, 2022
After silencing critics, Briana Williams looks ahead to Jamaica's National Senior Championships Sanzy Lifestyle

When Briana Williams finished ninth in the 100m dash at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon on May 28, she could not have imagined the wave of negative reaction that was to follow on social media.

After a successful indoor season during which she ran a new lifetime best of 7.04 while finishing fifth in the 60m final at the World Indoor Championships in Serbia in March, Williams and her coach Ato Boldon turned their attention to preparing to compete in Jamaica’s National Senior Championships at the end of June with the intention of making Jamaica’s team to the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene in July.

Apparently, the heavy workload had taken its toll and Williams, who won gold in the 4x100m relay at the Tokyo Olympics last summer, was clearly not at her best. Following the run in Oregon, social media blew up with toxic narratives. She was not progressing fast enough. She needs to leave Boldon. Other Jamaican women had surpassed her now.

Those criticisms stung and were partly behind her decision to travel to Jamaica to compete at the JAAA/SDF Jubilee Meet at Jamaica College in Kingston on Saturday. There, she ran a wind-assisted 10.91 (3.4m/s) in the preliminary round and then returned for the final where she ran a season's best 10.98 which went a long way toward silencing the armchair coaches.

“I definitely did,” said Williams while speaking with Sportsmax.TV after her triumphant performance on Saturday night.

“We don’t always have perfect races. Last week (Oregon) wasn’t my best. I wasn’t feeling my best but I am glad I got this meet in, was able to have a prelim and a final and finish healthy with a new season’s best.”

In truth, following her performance at the Prefontaine Classic when she clocked a relatively pedestrian 11.20, Williams did begin to doubt herself. However, those doubts were quickly extinguished by Coach Boldon.

“Well, I only had Prefontaine that was really bad. After the race, I was like ‘Oh My God, what’s going on? I am putting in the work’, but my coach said just trust the process. The work is there in training; you just have to wait. Everyone has their time, and we will not always have the best races,” she said.

“I would love for people to actually understand that we’re human beings and we’re athletes and we go through a lot and one bad race, we bounce back into a good race and we move forward.”

In fact, Williams believes that despite what the naysayers believe, she has been having a really good season.

“This season has been going well so far, especially indoors, my first full season indoors, 7.04. No one at 19 has done that and just to be the youngest at the World Indoor Championships and to place fifth really meant a lot,” she said.

“After indoors I went straight into training, heavy training, and I think that was where I was feeling it, at Prefontaine.”

Now with that disappointing performance clearly behind her, Williams is now firmly focused on being at her best for Jamaica’s National Senior Championships from June 23-26, when she will face off against some of the fastest women in the world with the aim of booking a ticket to Oregon in July.

To do that she will face as deep a field as she has ever faced in Jamaica. In addition to the usual suspects, Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who will compete despite having a bye to Oregon as the defending 100m champion and Shericka Jackson, Williams will come up against an in-form Kevona Davis, Natasha Morrison, Remona Burchell, Natalliah Whyte, Kemba Nelson and Shockoria Wallace all of whom have been having strong seasons.

Notwithstanding the depth of talent, the Olympic gold medallist said nothing will change in how she prepares for the fierce battles ahead.

“Never, it is always the same. It is always a hot field and I always perform my best when the time is right,” she said.

“I know that trials will be hard. Everyone is running fast. That is how it’s supposed to be. I am looking forward to trials.”

 

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 SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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