BRILLIANT BRIANA: Jamaican Wins Double Sprint Gold at World U-20

Author  Gordon Williams

South Florida-based Jamaican Briana Williams turned in superb performances to win the sprint double and lead the Caribbean’s medal charge at the IAAF World Under 20 Championships last month in Finland.

Williams Briana .Williams’s victories in the women’s 100 and 200 meters also helped push Jamaica to second place in the overall medal standings behind Kenya and ahead of the United States.

Jamaica earned 12 medals, including four gold, five silver and three bronze. Kenya claimed less medals (11), but more gold (six). The U.S. won 18 medals, most of any country, including three gold, eight silver and seven bronze.

Cuba was the only other Caribbean nation to win a medal, earning five, including a gold, silver and three bronze.


Sixteen-year-old Williams, who was born in the U.S. but chose to compete for Jamaica where her family is from, started her sprint dominance by winning the 100 meters. She beat highly touted American Twanisha Terry into second, clocking 11.16 seconds. Terry was timed in 11.19.

Williams returned to crush the field in the 200 meters, clocking a championship record 22.50 seconds to finish ahead of American Lauren Rain Williams (23.09).

The Jamaican’s time was also a national youth and junior record. For Williams, her performance was reward for testing preparations.

“I put in a lot of work,” she told IAAF Athletics after the 200. “… This is what I trained for all season and I’m just glad that I came out here to get the gold.”

Thomas left Bennett SURPRISE

Williams’s coach Ato Boldon, a former multiple Olympic sprint medalist for Trinidad and Tobago, told he expected her to do well, but admitted her stunning performances, especially in the 200 and after going through the qualifying rounds for both events, pleasantly caught him off guard.

“This is a nice surprise,” said Boldon, who also coaches T&T’s young sprint star Khalifa St. Fort. “I didn’t know she had this left in her.”

The Caribbean mined gold in other events as well. Jamaica’s Damion Thomas won the men’s 110 meters hurdles in 13.16 seconds, finishing ahead of compatriot Orlando Bennett, who clocked 13.33 for silver.

Jamaica’s Kai Chang won the men’s discus (1.750 kilograms) with a personal best throw of 62.36 meters, while Jordan A. Diaz earned Cuba’s only gold medal of the meet by winning the men’s triple jump with a leap of 17.15 meters.


Britany Anderson ran a personal best 13.01 seconds to secure a silver medal for Jamaica in the women’s 100 meters hurdles. Anderson’s time was exactly the same as Tia Jones of the United States, who was declared the winner in a photo finish.

Jamaica claimed more medals in the 400 meters for men, with Christopher Taylor (45.38) and Chantz Sawyers (45.89) finishing second and third, respectively, in the event won by Belgium’s Jonathan Sacoor in a championship record 45.03 seconds.

Cuba’s Maikel Y. Vidal finished second in the men’s long jump. His female compatriots Silinda Oneisi Morales and Yaritzaq Martinez won bronze in the discus and hammer throws, respectively, the same medal Davisleydi Velazco earned in the women’s triple jump.

Shiann Salmon picked up silver for Jamaica in the women’s 400 meters hurdles. Her compatriot Wayne Pinnock earned bronze in the men’s long jump.

Jamaica closed out the meet with a bronze medal in the women’s 4x400 meters relay. The team of Salmon, Janielle Josephs, Stacey-Ann Williams and Calisha Taylor finished behind the U.S. and Australia.