In the most anticipated clash between several of Jamaica’s rising-star female sprinters - Briana Williams, Kemba Nelson and Tina Clayton-  are set to compete over 60 metres and the 50th anniversary of the Gibson/McCook Relays at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday.

US$10,000 in prize money has been guaranteed for the winner of the dash that will also include Jonielle Smith, Kerrica Hill, Tia Clayton and Amoi Brown in what promises to be a mouth-watering showdown of exciting young talent.

Since news emerged earlier this week about the potential starters, debate has raged over who will emerge the winner. Will it be Williams, the Tokyo 2020 relay gold-medallist, who boasts a personal best of 7.04 and who opened her season with a 7.22 clocking at the Camperdown Classic two weeks ago, or will it be Nelson, the 2021 NCAA Division 1 Indoor Champion, who is just 0.01 slower at 7.05?

Or, could it be the World U20 100m champion Tina Clayton, who has run 7.24 two weeks ago?

Noted track writer, author and pundit Hubert Lawrence, believes Williams, having already shaken off some of the rust this season, has the edge over her other celebrated rivals.

“Williams has run a 60 already and will be a little more ready for tomorrow’s race,” he opined while analyzing the line-up for Sportsmax.TV on Friday.

“Kemba hasn’t run any races this season and so is now coming back out onto the track since last year. So, it’s sort of a coming out party for her. The Claytons have run before but Williams is just about the best of them.”

Lawrence, who with Michael Grant recently co-authored 50 Days Afire, chronicling the exploits of several of Jamaica’s biggest track stars, says there are other women to look out for in that race. One, in particular, could be a potential dark horse.

“Also in that race is Kashieka Cameron, who ran a 7.3x and looked really good at the Western Relays at GC Foster a few weeks ago. She started out slowly but finished with a rush.

“When I spoke to her she told me she was training really well and even though she is slim she looked like she had a couple extra pounds of muscle compared to the girl who won the Class 1 100m for Edwin Allen at Champs in 2018. So that’s an X-factor.”

The men’s 60m dash could prove to be equaling thrilling with Jamaica’s three fastest men in 2022 -Akeem Blake, Yohan Blake and Oblique Seville – all expected to be among the starters.

The dash should also include Commonwealth Games 200m silver medallist Zharnel Hughes as well as upcoming talents Jeevan Newby and Nigel Ellis.

Lawrence believes that the men’s 60 could be somewhat open based on how well several youngsters have been performing this season.

“On the men’s side, the X-factor is Kadrian Goldson; at the same Western Relays ran 6.57, finished in a rush,” Lawrence said.

Turning his attention to the big guns, Lawrence remarked that there are questions surrounding Seville’s health, which could be a factor in how well he performs on Saturday.

“We know about Akeem Blake, young, fast. Oblique Seville is in the draw, he has not run a race since last year’s Eugene World Championships,” he said.

“If you look back, you saw him there with kinesio-tape on the back of his hamstring and that has caused Coach (Glen) Mills to hold him out of races until he was 100 per cent. Now, he is in the 60m at Gibson. That’s the watching point. Is Goldson the real thing this season and is Oblique Seville all the way back from his injuries and will he put up a performance in the 6.60’s.”

Lawrence added that young Newby could be someone to watch.

“At the Queen’s/Grace Jackson Invitational ran a 6.62 looking back at the end,” Lawrence said.

“He was second at Champs but chose not to go back to high school and has joined the Motorcade Track Club and the sounds I hear coming from them is that Newby is in terrific shape.

“So, Women’s 60, maybe Briana Williams has the edge because she a bit sharper and in the Men’s 60, is Oblique Seville ready to rock and roll in 2023 after a great 2022 season and is Newby going to continue speeding; he and Goldson are the X-factors.”

 

 

 

 

Briana Williams is set to run another 60m this month and two 200m races in March as she continues preparations for the championship year ahead.

Titans International stars Briana Williams and Ackeem Blake opened their accounts in impressive style over 60m at the Camperdown Classic at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday night.

Williams, the Tokyo Olympics 4x100m gold medallist, clocked a fast 7.22 to win the dash ahead of Legacy Athletics’ Jura Levy, who ran 7.34.

Rohanna Wright of Swept Track Club ran 7.71 for third.

Blake was just as impressive, winning his short dash in 6.63 running into a negative wind, just holding off his more accomplished club-mate Yohan Blake, who clocked 6.64.

Emmanuel Archibald finished third in 6.70.

Williams, who has been training with the group since September, was chuffed about the performance.

“It felt very quick. I am just happy to be here to start the season,” she said, adding that her training has been going well, working on things that will make her better for the coming season.

“We have been working on endurance and the last part of races and this is just the start getting to the 100 and 200.”

The work, she said, is helping her get to her goals of running consistent 10.7s and 10.8s for the season ahead.

After just five months training in Jamaica, Williams said she feels at home and appreciates the support from the fans and her teammates at Titans.

“I am enjoying my coaches, my teammates and I am enjoying training,” said Williams, who races next in another 60m dash at the Gibson Relays o February 25.

“My teammates push me every day and they encourage me and I am so happy to have them.”

Like Williams, young Blake was pleased with pleased with the outcome.

“My training has been going good so far because I am healthy and I am ready," Blake said. "I have been putting in work and so I was expected to go out there, deliver, and that is what I did tonight.”

 

 

 

 

 

Briana Williams will race over 60m at the Camperdown Classic at the National Stadium on Saturday in what will be her first official competition since she joined Titans International in September 2022.

Williams, who turns 21, next month boasts a personal best of 7.04 while finishing fifth in the 60m final at the World Indoor Championships in Serbia in March, 2022.

It was a significant improvement on the 7.18 she ran at the Armory in New York in February 2020. Her outdoor 60m best of 7.15 was set at the National Stadium in Kingston in January that year.

The Tokyo Olympics gold medallist had trained with Coach Ato Boldon for a decade before making the move to Titans International last year citing a need for a change.

“I’m excited about this new chapter and happy to be training in Jamaica,” Williams said following the move to the club where she now trains under the guidance of coaches Gregory Little and Olympian Michael Frater.

 

After the Camperdown Classic, Williams is set to compete next at the Gibson Relays set to the final Saturday, February 25.

Jamaica’s youngest Olympic gold medalist Briana Williams has awarded scholarships to three Excelsior High School student-athletes valued at JMD$210,000.

Williams, who moved to Jamaica to train last year, is already dedicated to giving back to the community.

Following a Christmas treat that the 20-year-old Olympic champion staged for children in Montego Bay environs last December, Williams will now provide $70,000 each in scholarships to Shakira Rhoden, Shelly-Ann Taylor and Janelia Williams.

Rhoden and Taylor are members of Excelsior’s reigning Anthrick Corporate Area Development Meet 4x100m relay team.

Kayla Harris, who was also a member of that team, awarded her scholarship to teammate Janelia Williams.

Janelia Williams is an ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Athletics Championships (Champs) silver medalist in the 200m.

 The athletes came to Williams’ attention when she read a published interview following the team’s victory at the Anthrick Development Meet in 2022.

In it, they indicated that the multiple Carifta Games gold medalist was a role model.

 When Williams read the article, as well as saw an Instagram post with the athletes, she was thrilled,

“I was so honoured when I read the article in the newspaper stating that I inspire these girls. I wanted to meet them, but leave more than inspirational words. I wanted to support their academic journey,” Briana said.

The scholarship was made possible through Briana’s sponsor GraceKennedy Limited and will be disbursed to the school to cover the cost of books, tuition and other necessities for the 2023 academic year.

 The Briana Williams scholarship will now be an annual offer to aid student-athletes in their academic and sporting pursuits.

"I am committed to giving back to athletes in Jamaica because I know what it's like. It's not easy being a student-athlete.” She shared.

"My sponsor GraceKennedy and I will make this an annual scholarship to deserving student athletes who showcase their athletic talents and are also having good grades."

She encouraged over 100 members of the Excelsior High track team who were present at the ceremony to remain committed to the sport.

"We are committed to helping the next generation in this sport and I want to encourage you to work hard and don't let anybody quell your dreams,” she said.

"Put in the work, listen to your teachers, your coaches and rewrite your goals and recite them every day and don't give up.”

 In 2020, Williams provided 25 tablets to student-athletes forced to attend classes from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also donated furniture and school supplies to educator Stacey-Ann Donaldson who has a reading and homework centre in Rose Gardens, Kingston.

Williams ran the first leg of Jamaica’s gold-medal winning 4x100m effort at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (held in 2021). She also won silver as a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, Oregon. 

Hundreds of children from Paradise and its surrounding communities in Montego Bay to get Christmas gifts from Olympic gold medalist Briana Williams during the third staging of her annual Christmas Treat on Tuesday, December 21.

Williams, who now trains in Jamaica, feted children at the Paradise Community Centre from 10am to 3pm. The children enjoyed playing on bounce-about rides, a Santa Village, a games screen and gifts from Digicel.

Grace Foods provided boxed lunches, beverages and snacks to each child. 

"For the last two treats, we had to deliver the gifts to each home wearing masks because of the pandemic,” Williams said.

“It's nice to host a fun day and interact with the community. This is what makes Christmas special for the children.

“Special thanks to my sponsors Digicel, Grace Foods and KIG Jamaica for making this a reality for the last three years".

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.”

Olympic sprint relay gold medallist Briana Williams is about to launch a new chapter of her track and field career under the guidance of new coaches to begin the 2022/2023 track season.

Briana Williams has opted not to travel to Birmingham, England to compete at the Commonwealth Games as her flight will only get her into the United Kingdom on Tuesday morning, the same day track and field action begins at the 2022 Games.

Following the decision of Shericka Jackson, Natasha Morrison and Stephenie-Ann McPherson to withdraw from the Jamaican contingent, the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA) sought clearance from the Commonwealth Games Federation to bring Williams in to compete in the 100m.

However, by the time the GCF gave that clearance, it proved challenging to get a flight out from the United States that would get the Jamaican sprinter into the UK on time.

A disappointed Williams made the announcement on social media on Monday.

“Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend the Commonwealth Games. The race is tomorrow (Tuesday) and I would’ve be getting in extremely late,” she said.

“Thanks to those who helped to try to speed up the process. Really wish I could have been there. Good luck to all the athletes competing.”

The 20-year-old Williams ran 10.94 to finish fourth at the Jamaica National Championships in June. She was a member of the island’s sprint relay squad that won the silver medal at the 2022 World Athletics Championships that concluded at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on July 24.

Execution was key to Kemba Nelson running a new lifetime best to qualify for her first ever World Championships at Jamaica’s National Senior Championships in Kingston on Friday night.

Nelson, a senior at the University of Oregon, ran a personal best of 10.88 to finish second to Shericka Jackson, who ran a season-best 10.77 to secure her first national 100m title. Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah was third in 10.89 while Briana Williams ran a new lifetime best of 10.94 for fourth.

The key, she said, was to execute her race plan. “Once I execute the time will come,” she said.

Nelson, who won the silver medal behind Julien Alfred at the NCAA Division I Championships in Oregon earlier this month, explained that the more than 25-minute delay at the start did affect her but she was able to regain her composure ahead of the eventual start and that also paid off for her. She credits the advice of Coach Robert Johnson at Oregon for helping in that regard.

“Coach Johnson has always said to be things don’t only affect me, it affects all seven other athletes. It’s just for me to regroup because it’s bad for everybody but don’t let bad stop me from what I came here to do.”

Naturally, Nelson was ecstatic afterwards, sharing hugs first with Jackson and then family and friends afterwards in celebration of the achievement of making her first World Championships team.

“It means a lot to me. Coach has always believed in me, knows that I could do it, a little girl from Mobay living her dream,” she said, indicating that her decision to leave the University of Technology and enrol at the University of Oregon has been a key factor in her development.

“One of the best decisions I ever made in my life,” she said.

 

 

 

While pleased with her three consecutive sub-11 times including a new personal best in the 100m at Jamaica’s National Senior Championships, Olympic gold medallist Briana Williams was ‘annoyed’ by a 25-minute delay at the start of the 100m final which she believed had an effect on her performance.

Williams ran a new lifetime best of 10.94 to finish fourth just missing out on individual representation at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon in mid-July. In the race where the start was delayed by more than five minutes because of technical challenges being experienced by the starters, Shericka Jackson won her first national 100m title clocking a fast 10.77 while Kemba Nelson finished second in a new lifetime best of 10.88.

Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah was third in 10.89, just ahead of the 20-year-old Williams.

“I had a new PB, I am grateful. I had a great start. My end was pretty bad but it was a great race nonetheless,” Williams said afterwards, indicating that the delay had a major impact.
“A lot, it was very irritating.”

She revealed that she is also thankful to be able to perform as well as she did, given some challenges that she has had to face so far this season.

“This year hasn’t been the best. Indoors went pretty well but I am still going on with my season,” she said as she looks forward to donning the gold, black and green in Oregon as a member of Jamaica’s relay squad next month.

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.”

 

The Women’s 100m will be must-see TV at the Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday, May 28.

Reigning double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, Olympic 100m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson and controversial American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson are all down to compete in the showpiece event.

Thompson-Herah has the fastest season’s best heading into the race having run 10.89 to win her heat at the USATF Golden Games on April 16. She also ran 10.93 at the Puerto Rico International Athletics Classic on May 12 and 10.94 at the JAAA/SDF Jubilee Series at the National Stadium in Kingston on May 21.

Jackson has only run three 100m races so far this season with her best coming on May 7 when she ran 11.00 to win at the JAAA/SDF Jubilee Series at the National Stadium in Kingston. She also ran 11.12 for second at the Birmingham Diamond League on May 21 behind British 2019 World 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith, who will also be in the field in Eugene.

Richardson, who missed the Olympics last year after testing positive for marijuana at the US Olympic Trials, made her season debut on May 21 at the Duval County Challenge in Jacksonville running 11.27 to win.

The field will be rounded out by Ivorian speedster Marie Jose Talou, Jamaican Olympic 4x100m relay gold medallist Briana Williams, recently crowned World Indoor 60m champion Mujinga Kambundji of Switzerland and Americans Teahna Daniels and Twanisha Terry.

 

 

In the only race she has planned for the month of May, Olympic gold medallist Briana Williams ran a season-best 11.03 while finishing second in the 100m at the Pure Athletics Global Invitational in Clermont, Florida.

In what was her first race since suffered a tight hamstring at the USATF Golden Games in Walnut, California on April 16, Williams advanced to the final after winning her preliminary round heat in a wind-assisted 10.96 (5.3m/s).

In the final, she locked strides with Tanisha Terry until late in the race when the American pulled away to win in 10.94.

Maia McCoy was the best of the rest, running 11.20 for third.

Williams, 20, races next in the 100m on June 12 at the USATF Grand Prix in New York before she travels to Jamaica for the National Senior Championships scheduled for June 23-26.

Former Hydel High star sprinter Ashanti Moore, meanwhile, ran out a comfortable winner in the 200m. The powerful sprinter, who now trains at Pure Athletics alongside some of the world’s best sprinters including the 2019 World 200m champion, Noah Lyles, clocked a nippy 23.02 easily defeating Lily Kaden (23.21) and Camile Laus (23.63).

Lyles was equally dominant in the men’s 200m which he won in 19.86 over Trinidad and Tobago’s Jereem Richards (20.06) and his brother Josephus Lyles, who ran 20.20, his fastest-ever season opener.

Kimberly Williams jumped a wind-assisted 13.93m to win the triple jump by one centimetre over Naomi Metzer (13.92m). Sineade Gutzmore jumped 13.22m for third.

 

 

Olympic gold medalist Briana Williams was recently inducted onto the Champs Sports Wall of Game in Pembroke Pines, Florida, honouring those in the community who make and have made a positive contribution to local sports.

Champs Sports, part of Foot Locker, Inc. is the brand's first iteration of its new Homefield concept and is the largest of any Foot Locker, Inc. subsidiary in the world at 35,000+ square feet.

The 20-year-old Williams was inducted in a ceremony held on April 23 along with four other honourees: Mark Montimurro, Roderick Rocky Gills, Tamara James, and posthumously, Jason Stein.

“It’s always a privilege and a blessing to be honoured by the community that helped to raise me,” said the Jamaican Olympic gold medallist.

“It's also the biggest Champs store in the country so I'm humbled to be one of the first names inducted.”

Montimurro is the Head Coach at Coral Springs Charter School Softball, "Rocky" Gillis is Athletic Director at Broward County Schools and James is a former WNBA player and Mayor of Dania Beach. Stein was the Athletic Director/Baseball Coach/Teacher at JP Taravella High School.

 

 

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