Briana, the Titan!
New coach Little committed to pushing Williams forward
WILLIAMS...the young Jamaican sprinter moves to Titans Track Club

GREGORY Little, the man now responsible for advancing the career of Jamaican sprinting starlet Briana Williams, says he and his Titans Track Club colleague Michael Frater are committed to taking the 20-year-old's development forward after her move to the Kingston-based outfit.

Williams ended her decade-long coaching association with Trinidadian great Ato Boldon and will join the likes of veteran sprinter Yohan Blake, the second-fastest man in history; promising sprinter Ackeem Blake; and 2014 Commonwealth Games 100m champion Kemar Bailey-Cole at Titans International.

"We are very excited to work with Briana. She is a very talented athlete and we are looking forward to working with her," Little finally told the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday after initially remaining coy during earlier checks.

"We have a commitment with her and we are going to try our best to keep her moving forward," Little added.

In this file photo, Briana Williams (right) poses with former coach Ato Boldon. (Photo: Observer file)

Williams is set to start working out with her new club in the first week of October, and Little said that he and Frater have already started to work on the programme for the young sprinter.

"We are currently doing some assessments on her previous races, and when she starts training we will do some assessments on her strength to discover where we are going," said Little.

The move comes as no surprise to local track and field insiders as Williams had reportedly held discussions with at least two other local-based clubs.

Boldon, who has developed Williams into one of the most dominant junior athletes and a consistent figure among the island's rich senior talent, was also expecting the change and underlined his pride at their achievements together over the years.

"We discussed this last year. The irony with all the 'change coach' chorus is that she was never supposed to be under me the whole way — not once was that part of the plan," Boldon told the Observer.

"[I am] very proud of all we did — she did things that hadn't been done before and set or equalled a PR every season," added Boldon. "It was her choice. She's 21 on her next birthday and she knows she needs a change.

"If someone gave you everything you ever wanted at age 19, including an Olympic gold medal, you might get comfortable too. I didn't have anywhere near what she had, and I had a big wake-up call between 19-20 — by 21 I was in the world final."

Williams, at 16 years old, won gold in the 100m and 200m at the 2018 World Under-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, and also took the double at the Carifta Games which helped her to the Austin Sealy award. She also won the sprint double and was a member of Jamaica's gold medal-winning team at the 2019 Carifta Games.

She has held national age group records in the 200m and 100m and competed at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo as a member of Jamaica's gold medal-winning 4x100m relay team. She also lined up in the 4x100m preliminaries at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

Williams, who has a personal best of 10.94 seconds in the 100m, was happy with the move.

"I have to thank Coach Ato for how much he has done for me and my career so far. He will always be a father figure to me," said Williams. "I am excited about this new chapter and happy to be training in Jamaica."

BY ANDRE LOWE Sports content manager lowea@jamaicaobserver.com

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