Mon | Nov 29, 2021

Williams now a Tigers trainer

Published:Saturday | December 14, 2019 | 12:20 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer

Jamaican gymnast Toni-Ann Williams has made the leap from competitor to trainer.

The 24-year-old Olympian was named assistant head coach of the Towson University Tigers Gymnastic Team in Towson, Maryland. The position was announced on Thursday. Towson Tigers head coach Jay Ramirez says that Williams’ passion for the sport will be a great asset to the team for the new season.

“We are beyond thrilled to have Toni-Ann join our Towson coaching staff,” he said on the team’s website. “With her highly decorated experience as a recent NCAA gymnast at Cal Berkeley, I think she will play a valuable role in achieving the kind of success that we would like at Towson. Her energy, charisma, and passion for the sport are contagious and we are looking forward to a great season.”

Williams said that she is delighted at the chance to help mould the gymnastic programme at Towson and to guide the athletes to successful college careers.

“Growing up in Maryland, Towson Gymnastics has always been a big part of the gymnastics community,” she said. “I’m very excited to be joining the Towson programme because of the welcoming community, great coaching staff, and truly wonderful athletes. I’m excited to watch the gymnastics programme grow and help these young ladies have the best collegiate experience possible.”

A graduate of the University of California Berkeley (Cal), she made her return to competition for Jamaica this year at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, after suffering an Achilles injury in February. She became the country’s first gymnast to compete in the Olympics when she qualified and participated in all four events at the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro. Although the injury brought a ­premature end to her collegiate career, she has garnered much success during her four years at the school, becoming a seven-time All-American and making the All Round ­second team in 2018. In her debut season in 2015 with the California Golden Bears, she was named the Pacific 12 conference (PAC-12) Freshman of the Year and was award the Regional ­Gymnast of the Year for 2015 and 2016. She was a finalist for the 2019 American Athletic Incorporated (AAI) award, considered to be the Heisman Trophy equivalent for gymnastics.