Mission accomplished for Briana
A PERSONAL best equalling time on the weekend by Olympic relay gold medallist Briana Williams equates to mission accomplished.
Despite a flawed race, Williams sped 7.18 seconds to place third at the Purple Tiger meet in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her performance both pleased and pained her coach, Ato Boldon.
“I thought she’d run 7.2 low because we really have not done any sharpening because indoors is not really the focus,” Boldon said the morning after Williams competed on January 14. “Then she goes into the heat and she runs 7.20 and I know when Briana has stopped running. She stopped running at about 45,” he assessed.
A slow start doomed the 2018 double World Under-20 champion in the final, won by American Aleia Hobbs in 7.10 seconds with Mikiah Brisco, the runner-up, in 7.17.
“She did not get her usual start and Hobbs got out on her and she panicked. So I’m looking at the race, I’m like Briana, the heat was a 10, the final was a 6 and that doesn’t happen to her often but she really did not have a good reaction to the gun and you know, first race and all of that. So, you have to kind of take that in context and say okay, ‘I saw what I needed to see when she ran the 7.20 and shut down’,” said Boldon.
For the coach, himself the 1997 World 200-metre champion, the Purple Tiger race was preparation for the Millrose Games in New York on January 29.
“It was a question of get one race under your belt so that in two weeks when you’re on national TV and you’re in New York and all of that, you know, you’ll feel more comfortable. So, mission accomplished in that case,” said the Trinidad and Tobago legend.
“If we rate Briana’s performance from 1 to 10, the heat is a 10 on reaction to the gun, acceleration, execution, relaxation, her form, I love how she’s in the thing towards the end of the race but all of that goes away in the final,” he added.
Asked if the 19-year-old might target the World Indoor Championships in March, he reasoned, “I have told her, look, if you’re running close to seven-two, I don’t see what’s the point in going to World Indoors, but if you are running seven-one low, that I think is worthy of going because it’s the kind of year where you can probably run 7.05 or 7.06 and win World Indoors. I don’t think anybody’s going to run 6.9. I could be wrong because Aleia Hobbs opened at 7.10 but I have already told her if you want to go to World Indoors, let’s see, execute at Millrose, give me a nice PR and at least we can discuss it.”
In action elsewhere on January 15, Jamaica’s reigning NCAA 60-metre champion Kemba Nelson sped 7.19 seconds at the Cougar Classic in Spokane, Washington.