Jamaican sprinter Briana Williams said she was not satisfied with where she was as an athlete and admitted that the ever-increasing competition for places on Jamaica's teams to major international championships was a key factor behind her decision to move to Jamaica and continue her development.
Williams yesterday completed her first training session under the guidance of her new coach, Gregory Little, at the Titans International Track Club at Stadium East, weeks after ending her time with Ato Boldon, who had conditioned her from she was 10 years old and into international acclaim.
The 20-year-old starlet described her first session as an eye-opener and said she is determined to push herself to her full potential with an eye on next year's World Championships and the 2024 Olympic Games.
"Well, honestly, today has been an eye-opener for me. I worked very hard. I've done things that I haven't done, I pushed my body to the limit. I'm really grateful to the coaches and my new teammates and I'm loving my new family," Williams told the Jamaica Observer.
"What I'm looking to accomplish is just to be a better athlete and to reach my goals, which is to get an individual spot in the 100 metres and the 200 metres for this World Championships and also the Olympic Games in the future and just to be at my utmost best — where I'm supposed to be," Williams stated.
"After my last race this year in Hungary, I was like, I need to do something. I need to push my body to the limit because I feel like I wasn't being pushed really to my limits. I can say, on my part, maybe that was my fault as well, but for this season, I just want to be the best, you know," she added.
With Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah, and Shericka Jackson dominating the sprints both locally and on the international stage and the likes of Kemba Nelson, who is now being conditioned by Fraser-Pryce's Coach Reynaldo Walcott at Elite Performance as well as several others threatening to push her further down the pecking order, Williams is well aware that the next few seasons will demand her best effort if she is to meet her ambitions.
She is hoping that the new approach and environment will extract greater success in the coming season and beyond.
"The [National] Trials is only getting harder. I feel like trials is harder than the World Championship final and Olympic final for Jamaica, and I definitely had to make that move. Because, you know, time is of the essence and I'd like to be on top where I'm supposed to be, and Jamaica's female and male sprinting is very bright," said Williams.
She shared that a conversation with Little while the two were in Europe during the back-end of the last season and the work that the Titans coaches have done with promising sprinter Ackeem Blake also helped her to make the move to the Stadium East-based club.
"Ackeem, I look up to him as well because, I mean, this year it was an amazing season for him, and when I was coming here I looked into that and I was like, you know, I really liked the progress that they've done with him and he's also a great teammate," Williams explained.
She also paid credit to Boldon for his work with her over the years and noted that he continues to play a fundamental role in her life.
"I've learned so much over the years just from him, not only with track but just in life and in general, and I really thank him. He's a mentor to me, we talk every day. I know he's going to be happy with my progress this season and the seasons to come," said Williams.
Meanwhile, Little was pleased with Williams' efforts on her first day of training.
"I like her spirit, I like her drive, she was always willing to do the work and I would love to have several more athletes like Briana who just wants to get the job done. I really like her attitude so far, we have identified some weaknesses and areas that we are going to strengthen, but I like the spirit so far," said Little.
"My role is to ensure I get here to improve as much as possible, but once she continues to show this spirit – because she is hungry for it – I believe she will do very well," he said.
Frater was also satisfied with the efforts of the new Titans charge.
"The first thing that I have observed is that she is the ultimate professional. First-day training is not going to be easy and she pushed through and did everything, but she has shown that she is willing to do the work — and we can't ask for anything else," said Frater.