Thu | Aug 22, 2019

Not 'coaching against Trinidad' - Boldon hits back at claims he is ignoring T&T for regional rivals

Published:Tuesday | July 17, 2018 | 12:00 AMRachid Parchment/ Sports News Coordinator
World Under-20 100m gold medallist Briana Williams and coach Ato Boldon (left) in Tampere, Finland.
Briana Williams wins the 200m gold to complete the sprint double at the IAAF World Under-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland last Saturday. Williams won in a championship record 22.50.

Ato Boldon, coach of Jamaican junior sprinter Briana Williams, has dismissed criticism of him in his homeland of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) that he is helping to develop rival nations' track and field programmes.

The Olympian coached Williams to a sprint double in the 100m and 200m events at the IAAF World Under 20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, last week, to the resentment of some members of the T&T track and field community.

But Boldon said he is unbothered by the criticism he has personally received, especially on social media.

"I have had people on social media from Trinidad saying it's a shame that I'm coaching 'against Trinidad'. I find that hilarious," Boldon told The Gleaner.

Boldon is disappointed that he was not given an influential role in T&T's track and field programme, like his counterparts from other nations, who have moved on from competing to coaching.

"I have watched all my peers being given leadership roles - and succeed," he said. "Glenroy Gilbert (a former sprinter) of Canada, whom I had a conversation with on this very topic; Dennis Mitchell; Jon Drummond (both former sprinters as well), who coached the USA women to the world record in the 4x100m relays.

"No one who knows me in the USA can believe I have no influence, whatsoever, on young Trinidad and Tobago athletes, apart from Khalifa St Fort. But my plan is to have athletes from every single island in my camp, and, well, the direct messages [which he has received since Williams' 100m win] indicate that's already started in earnest."




Boldon, while describing the state of T&T's track and field affairs as "mediocre", said he will continue training athletes overseas until things change in his homeland.

"I have decided that I will go where I'm wanted, so if the TT Federation is content to wallow in mediocrity, while patting each other on the back about how well they are doing every year, I'll continue to do my thing in Florida."

Boldon, in his time as a sprinter, won four Olympic medals - a bronze in both the 100 and 200m sprints at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA, in 1996, then a silver in the 100m and a bronze in the 200m four years later at the Sydney Games in Australia.

He also won gold in the 200m at the IAAF World Championships in Athens, Greece, in 1997.