Boldon praises 'poised and composed' Williams
Olympian Ato Boldon said that he feels vindicated by Briana Williams' success in the Women's 100m at the IAAF World Under 20 Championships in Tampere, Finland yesterday.
Williams' gold medal winning run in a time of 11.16 seconds, capped a successful day for Jamaica where sprint hurdlers Damion Thomas and Orlando Bennett claimed a historic gold and silver respectively in the Men's 110m hurdles. Thomas finished in 13.16 seconds while Bennett's time was 13.33.
Boldon, who represented Trinidad and Tobago as a sprinter, now coaches Williams in the United States and he said that he faced a lot of criticism as a young coach and her win has justified his methods.
"I'm thrilled for her and thrilled for Jamaica on its first win in this event since VCB (Veronica Campbell-Brown) in 2000," he told The Gleaner. "I'm feeling very vindicated personally because I took a lot of shots this year from a lot of people as a young coach."
Boldon said that he has always pushed Williams very hard because he saw a lot of potential in her to dominate track and field.
"Oh, it's not always pretty," he said. "I am very tough on her but cameras aren't around for that. The reason I'm hard on her is because I know she can be one of the very best. I think she understands that now because all year, I told her nothing matters in her season other than the World Under-20s. Everything else was expendable. She's arrived. She won that race because of her poise and composure, just like her idol Shelly-Ann (Fraser-Pryce). She also knows success at this level means nothing if you don't keep improving every year."
Many local fans of track and field have said they would love to see Williams go up against Kevona Davis, another promising Jamaican talent who missed the Championships through injury. While praising Davis as a talented young sprinter, Boldon said he is not very concerned about a showdown between both sprinters so early in their careers.
"Fans want what they want," Boldon said. "I'm not as interested in Briana being in great shape to beat anyone early in the year and then not being able to be at her best in the summer. Last two years, she has PR'ed (personal record) in June and July. That's the season that counts. Kevona is an immense talent and quite frankly, it's the presence of Kevona in Jamaica and Tamari Davis in the USA why Briana has had such a great season, because they are like ghosts in her training. I use them to motivate her when she's not performing because they are both better at 200m than Briana is."