Tue | Nov 12, 2019

Play the field - Williams advises young athletes to give jumping and throwing a chance

Published:Friday | October 4, 2019 | 12:13 AMAndrÈ Lowe/Sports Editor
Kimberly Williams launches off the runway during an attempt in the qualification round of the women’s triple jump event at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, yesterday.
Kimberly Williams launches off the runway during an attempt in the qualification round of the women’s triple jump event at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, yesterday.

DOHA, Qatar:

Two-time World Championships finalist Kimberly Williams believes that the performances of the island’s field events athletes over the years, but particularly in Doha at the World Championships, will help to drive their development in Jamaica.

Williams, the two-time Commonwealth champion and World Indoor silver and bronze medal winner, is through to tomorrow’s triple jump final after posting a 14.20m mark in qualifying yesterday to advance as the 11th best jumper to the medal round.

She will be joined in the final by fellow Jamaican and medal favourite Shanieka Ricketts, who topped all qualifiers with a 14.42m mark, which she landed on her first attempt.

With Tajay Gayle winning gold in the long jump a few days ago, and Fedrick Dacres and Danniel Thomas-Dodd securing silver medals in the discus and shot put events, Williams, who is hoping that she and Ricketts will add to the field events medal success here, is convinced that the results at these championships and those in the past will manifest themselves with increased participation by young Jamaicans and continued success at the top level.

“For Jamaica, field events are definitely coming up. Young kids can see that they don’t have to be sprinters, they can branch out and do other things. I think some of them feel pressured to be sprinters because those are the glamour events, but the coaches need to let them try new stuff and not just put them in one event. Let them branch out and find what they love,” said Williams.

Huge surprise

Gayle pulled a huge surprise in the long jump final on Saturday, posting a national record 8.69m to win the gold, while Dacres’ 66.94m in the discus and Thomas-Dodd’s 19.47m delivered silver medals in Doha.

“Hopefully, more kids will gravitate to the field events. They have a lot of (Jamaican) role models out there so, hopefully, they can branch out,” Williams added.

Meanwhile, Williams was not entirely pleased with her execution in the qualifiers but is looking to make the necessary adjustments and push for a medal in tomorrow’s final, which gets started at 12:35 p.m. Jamaica time.

“I advanced and made it to the final, so I am happy about that. It took all three jumps, but it’s a part of the game, but come Saturday night, I will do better,” said Williams. “I could fix my approach, so I am a little bit more accurate. I was behind the board, so I need to get on the board and be aggressive and maintain my composure and proper technique.

“This is what we train for. We train to come out here and win gold, and whatever happens happens, but I always give my best. I don’t now what’s going to happen. I just have to do everything in my power to put my best performance out there on the day. Anything can happen,” said Williams, who finished fourth and fifth, respectively at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships.

Williams also progressed to the final of the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, placing sixth and seventh.

Heading into today’s eighth day of competition, Jamaica has six medals: two gold, three silver, and a bronze.

The only track medals so far came in the women’s 100m final, where Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won gold in 10.71 seconds; the mixed 4x400m relay team, which won silver in a national record 3:11.78 minutes; and Shericka Jackson, who won bronze in the women’s 400m final in a personal best 49.47 seconds.

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com