Briana's in!


Briana's in!

Briana Williams named to World Championships team despite doping allegations

By Dwayne Richards
Observer writer

Thursday, September 12, 2019

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Teenaged sprint sensation Briana Williams was provisionally named to Jamaica's World Championships squad despite her anti-doping case being set to take place September 23-25, ending just two days before the start of the global event in Doha, Qatar.

This controversial selection was justified by president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Dr Warren Blake, who said that Williams was being treated as if she were innocent until the outcome of the hearing.

“The window is really very tight, but we firmly believe in the principle of innocent until proven guilty and for us not to select her or not to put her on the team would be to punish her even before she has been found guilty.

“If it happens that the independent hearing panel finds that she is culpable and she is guilty then she won't be on the team. If she is cleared then she is on the team,” Dr Blake explained.

Should Williams miss out on selection, she will be replaced by Jonielle Smith in the 100m. At the moment the 17-year-old is down to compete in the 100m and is also a part of the 4x100m relay pool.

Other notable selections to the team were that of quarter-miler Nathon Allen as a reserve, sprint hurdler Omar McLeod, and middle-distance runner Aisha Praught-Leer.

None of the three participated at the National Championships in June which is a part of the mandate for qualification for selection to the team.

Dr Blake also cleared the air on the selection of those athletes.

Allen, who was in Jamaica for the championships, fell ill and was given a medical exemption; McLeod experienced travel difficulties due to a flight cancellation, while Praught-Leer asked to be exempted from the trials due to her training schedule and the usual dearth of participants in the women's 1500m.

Terry Thomas and Javon Francis, who finished second and third in the 400m final at the National Championships, both failed to make the qualifying times for Doha and as such have been named to the relay pool only.

Akeem Bloomfield has been the best performing athlete over 400m since the National Championships and has been selected along with national record holder Rusheen McDonald and national champion Demish Gaye to run in the event at Doha.

A 55-member team (including Smith) was announced by second-vice-president of the JAAA Lincoln Eatmon at the launch at the Marriott Hotel in Kingston yesterday.

As expected, Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will headline the female team which also includes the likes of Shericka Jackson, Stephenie-Ann McPherson, Danielle Williams, and Rushell Clayton.

Commonwealth Games shot put champion Danniel Thomas-Dodd and Pan American Games triple jump champion Shanieka Ricketts will lead the charge for the women in the field.

Yohan Blake and Tyquendo Tracey headline the male team in the sprints, while Fedrick Dacres, who is ranked second in the world in the discus, will lead the men in the field.

Full squad: Women — Elaine Thompson, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Briana Williams, Jonielle Smith, Natalliah Whyte, Natasha Morrison, Schillonie Calvert-Powell, Shashalee Forbes, Shericka Jackson, Anastasia Le-Roy, Stephenie-Ann McPherson, Roneisha McGregor, Tiffany James, Shiann Salmon, Janieve Russell, Natoya Goule, Ashia Praught-Leer, Danielle Williams, Janeek Brown, Megan Tapper, Yanique Thompson, Rushell Clayton, Rhonda Whyte, Tisanna Hickling, Chanice Porter, Shanieka Ricketts, Kimberly Williams, Shadae Lawrence, Shanice Love, Danniel Thomas-Dodd.

Men — Yohan Blake, Tyquendo Tracey, Rasheed Dwyer, Julian Forte, Oshane Bailey, Andre Ewers, Akeem Bloomfield, Demish Gaye, Terry Thomas, Javon Francis, Rusheen McDonald, Devaughn Baker, Nathon Allen, Demar Murray, Omar McCloud, Ronald Levy, Orlando Bennett, Andrew Riley, Kemar Mowatt, Tajay Gayle, Jordon Scott, Fedrick Dacres, Traves Smikle, Chad Wright, O'Dayne Richards.

Management team — Lincoln Eatmon, team manager; Marie Tavares, assistant team manager; Dionne Hemmings-McCatty, assistant team manager; Donald Quarrie, technical leader; Maurice Wilson, head coach, Paul Francis, coach; Julian Robinson, coach; Dr Paula Dawson, team doctor; Dr Joann Brown, physiotherapist.

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