Frater confident 'determined' Williams will have success at senior level

By Sports Desk September 23, 2022

Titans Track Club coach and former Olympian Michael Frater is confident his new charge Briana Williams will be able to make the transition from star junior to successful senior, despite admitting that it has been difficult for former junior stars in the past.

The 20-year-old Williams recently announced the decision to part ways with long-time coach Ato Boldon and join Frater and Gregory Little at Titans.  As a junior, Williams was a world champion in both the 100m and 200m.  Since turning pro in 2020, however, the athlete has failed to engineer anything close to similar success at the senior level.

Williams has made both the Olympics and World Championship teams, going on to win 4x100m relay gold, but has only managed to secure a spot in the relay pool to date and missed out on individual appearances.  At the Jamaica national trials, earlier this year, her time of 10.94, a new personal best, was only good enough for fourth spot.

In track and field, it isn’t uncommon for junior stars to fail to make the grade at the senior level but Frater believes Williams has the mindset to join the likes of Usain Bolt and Veronica Campbell-Brown as world juniors champions who went on to excel at the senior level.

“It’s hard for a lot of these athletes that do great things at young ages, a lot of them never surpass what they do,” Frater told the SportsMax Zone.

“That's why most people will tell you that they prefer athletes who weren’t teeing off at a young age,” he added.

“I think with Briana’s attitude and dedication, though, it won’t be a problem for her transitioning to the next level, and as coach Ato said he may not have been able to spend enough time with her.  For an athlete to be a world-class athlete she has to get the full attention that she needs.”

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    Kick off for the friendly encounters are scheduled for 3:00pm and 4:00pm Trinidad and Tobago time.

    Canadian League One midfielder Kai Garvey (Simcoe County Rovers FC) and English League Two forward Justin Obikwu (Coventry City), are the overseas-based players called up by Eve, with Jamaica-based forward Nathaniel James, midfielder Kaile Auvray (both of Mount Pleasant) and defender Josiah Trimmingham (Montego Bay Utd), also included.

    Also breaking into the senior team is in-form Under-20 forward Michael Chaves (QPCC), who just concluded their Concacaf Championship campaign on Tuesday.

    Uncapped players such as Shervohnez Hamilton (Club Sando), Rhondel Gibson (Eagles FC), Liam Burns (AC Port of Spain) and Kai Moos (Club Sando) were also selected.

    The remaining players all hail from the Trinidad and Tobago Premier Football League (TTPFL) tier one and includes regulars such as Duane Muckette, John-Paul Rochford, Nathaniel Garcia, Michel Poon Angeron, Denzil Smith and Christopher Bigette among others.

    Eve is expecting players to give of their best, especially with spots on the line for the Copa America playoff.

    “We had a mini camp over the Carnival period where we saw some new players and we wanted to see them in a real match environment, and now this is an opportunity for them to get proper match practice so we could see them play. We have some new players. Unfortunately, some of them got injured in the last couple games in the TTPFL matches so they’re not here right now," Eve shared.

    The Soca Warriors play Canada on March 23, at the Toyota Stadium in Texas, with the winner to progress to Copa America Group A, alongside FIFA World Cup champions Argentina, two-time champions Peru and Chile.

    Eve expressed pleasure with the continued expansion of his talent pool continues to grow. He also expressed gratitude to former national coaches Dennis Lawrence and Stephen Hart for their role in getting Obikwu and Garvey on board.

    “When these types of coaches recommend people, you must take a look at them. We’ve seen tapes of them, and this is our opportunity to see them live,” said Eve.

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    Williams, who had transferred from the University of Albany, where he secured the 60m and 200m double at the 2023 America East Indoor Championships, revealed the challenges he faced leading up to the Ken Shannon Last Chance Meet.

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    To recover from the injury, Williams adopted a comprehensive approach. He engaged in discussions with his coaches, adjusted his diet, and made strategic decisions for his recovery both on and off the track. He acknowledged the efforts invested in correcting and overcoming the challenges, saying, “We had to go back a few times to try and see what works for me on the track and off the track. A lot of dieting, a lot of sitting down with my coaches and going back on what we need to do, 'cause pre-season was probably one of the greatest pre-seasons I ever had running track and field.”

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    “I had doubts because of my toe. I set those doubts behind me this past weekend. I was happy about that, 'cause I know it was SEC, ACC, Big 12, and all those other conferences, so I just showed the people that I'm still here," Williams declared.

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    Looking ahead, Williams expressed confidence in his trajectory, saying, "So yeah, as far as all that, I would say my performance was great. We still have big goals for indoors. We're not done yet. We have two weeks to the NCAA National Championships. I have something in store, so you want to stay tuned for that.”

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