Briana Williams learns life lessons in hurricane-struck Bahamas

By September 20, 2019

On Monday, Briana Williams flew to the Bahamas to do her part in the ongoing relief efforts there after Hurricane Dorian devastated the Abacos Islands and claimed several lives.

In addition to getting her first flying lesson, it was also an experience that will help her put her own crisis into perspective.

The 17-year-old track star had been having the season of her life. The 10.94s she ran at Jamaica’s national championships on June 21 was the third time she was breaking the national junior record this year. It was also a U18 world record.

She also booked a spot on Jamaica’s team to the IAAF World Championships in Doha later this month, becoming one of the youngest ever Jamaicans to qualify for a senior global championship. Then it all went off the rails when she tested positive for the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide.

The championships get underway on September 27, two days after the expected conclusion of her anti-doping hearing in Kingston, Jamaica.

Earlier this year, her coach Ato Boldon had an idea to have a friend teach the teenage star to fly.

Barrington Irving created history in 2007, when, at the age of 22, he became the youngest pilot ever to fly solo around the globe. He and Boldon have been friends for some time and the latter thought it would be a good idea for him to give Briana lessons.

 “Barrington is one of my best friends and I fly with him all the time. I had the idea that Briana would go flying with him and Briana would teach him how to run. That was the original plan,” Boldon told Sportsmax. TV.

They put the plan on hold after Briana returned her positive test, and then shortly thereafter, Dorian settled over Abacos and pummelled it to death.

Boldon was among a number of celebrities who flew supplies into the Bahamas to support the relief effort after the disaster left 70,000 people homeless and killed dozens more. He thought it would be a good idea to get Briana involved, thinking it would help lift her spirits by putting her doping issue into perspective.

 “I wanted Briana to go on one of these trips to one of these trips to the Bahamas,” he said.

“It’s very easy to feel that life is so unfair. When something like this happens and when you get to see people in the Bahamas who have lost everything it can sort-of remind you that life is not fair all the time.”

On Monday, he and Irving made it happen.

“Briana got to go and she got her flight lesson. She got to see a lot of people there whose lives are changed forever,” he said adding that she learned an important lesson.

“Life is not about what happens to you, it’s how you respond to it. She got to fly, she offloaded the plane and we actually brought somebody back, a lady and her child. It was a good experience for her going forward.”


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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