For Briana Williams, 2019 Carifta Games is dress rehearsal for National Championships

By April 08, 2019
Briana Williams winning the 200m gold medal at the 2018 World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland. Briana Williams winning the 200m gold medal at the 2018 World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland.

When Briana Williams steps onto the track at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex at the 48th renewal of the Carifta Games later this month, it will be the first of two dress rehearsals for the Jamaican National Championships two months later.

Williams, who plans to represent Jamaica at the IAAF World Championships in Doha in September, won the sprint double at Jamaica’s Carifta trials last weekend. However, even though the initial plan was for her to run only the 100m, her camp made the call that she would do the double at the Games at which she won the Austin Sealy Award in 2018.

“Carifta isn’t a workout, it’s a dress rehearsal, and she’ll have another one at the end of May at altitude in New Mexico where she has to double,” said Williams’ coach Ato Boldon, who was also referencing the Great Southwest Invitational where Williams also competed last year.

He explained why he reversed his decision for the 17-year-old speedster to run only the 100m at the regional games set for April 20-23.

“She wasn’t feeling that well for the 100m final and she expressed to me that she wasn’t happy with the time and how she felt,” Boldon explained.

“I told her that’s how it is sometimes, let’s turn the weekend into a workout, just run the 200 for practice. She did and was a lot happier with the 200 performance, especially since she had to run both 200 rounds in the space of just over three hours. She left Jamaica feeling so good about the weekend that she decided she would run both at Carifta, which is fine by me.”

After giving it some thought, Boldon said he saw where doing both sprints at Carifta could be beneficial to Williams’ bid to make the Jamaican senior team in June.

 “The 200 (which she won at the trials in 23.26) showed me that what I’m seeing in practice is showing up for meets too. A year ago, that was her PR, and now she can run it with reasonable ease. Because she is not running a high school season, she has to be able to manage rounds.

“She’s good at it now but to make the Jamaican team she has to be better than she ever was. It means running two back to back PRs if you have to. It means running a PR in the 100 and still being able to run a 200 PR three rounds later,” he explained.

“She has already done it. Her 11.15 in Tampere (2018 World Under20 Championships) had no wind. That is superior to her 11.13 PR that had almost the maximum allowable tailwind. Her 22.50 PR also had zero wind. That is an example of setting PRs in the biggest races, with rounds. It is why I am confident in her anytime there are championship rounds.

Following the Carifta Games, Williams will run some high school relays until May, Boldon said. In mid-to-late May are some invitationals, “then we start the real sharpening for the Jamaica 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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