Olympics doubt

Williams remains optimistic of still heading to Rio

Don’t count Sada Williams out just yet. 

In fact, Williams who arrived at the Grantley Adams International Airport this afternoon from Bydgoszcz, Poland, where the 2016 IAAF World Juniors was held, said she felt all right since pulling up and clutching her right leg a few days ago in the 200m final that many expected her to win ahead of eventual winner Edidiong Ofonime Odiong of Bahrain. 

Barbados’ lone medallist in Poland Mario Burke celebrates with family including (from left) grandmother Pauline Clarke, father Vincent Burke, mother Marvo Burke and aunt Marcia Burke. (Pictures by Morissa Lindsay)
Barbados’ lone medallist in Poland Mario Burke celebrates with family including (from left) grandmother Pauline Clarke, father Vincent Burke, mother Marvo Burke and aunt Marcia Burke. (Pictures by Morissa Lindsay)

Other members of the World Juniors’ team returning home today were Barbados’ lone medallist Mario Burke, who won bronze in the 100m, Michael Nicholls, Jaquon Hoyte and Tristan Evelyn. 

Williams told the media she was not exactly sure what the real state of her condition was and therefore would have to await a medical assessment. However, she does not believe her situation will affect her imminent outing and in fact said she has her eyes set on a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil where she is expected to compete in the 200m. 

With one week to go before the Olympics, Williams said her aim would be to heal and get better in time for the Games. 

President of the Athletic Association of Barbados Catherine Jordan (left) in conversation with Sada Williams and former Olympian Noel Lynch.
President of the Athletic Association of Barbados Catherine Jordan (left) in conversation with Sada Williams and former Olympian Noel Lynch.

Jordan told Barbados TODAY when the medical results on Williams gets to the AAB they would then pass it on to the Barbados Olympic Association who would perhaps make an official announcement on Williams’ condition. 

On the bright side of things Barbados’ star performer Burke wore his bronze medal proudly around his neck while being greeted by president of the Athletics Association of Barbados, Catherine Jordan, his parents Marvo and Vincent Burke along with grandmother Pauline Clarke and aunt Marcia Clarke. 

The 19-year-old said it felt great to step on the podium at the IAAF World Juniors but was aiming for gold in order to hear Barbados’ national anthem being played. 

“It felt good knowing that out of all the boys in the world I am in the top three. I wanted to hear the Barbados anthem but it wasn’t meant to be, so hopefully I can hear it sometime in the future,” Burke said. 

Looking back at his performance in Poland the former Harrison College star athlete explained it was hectic and mentally challenging, but he overcame those obstacles to give of his best.

“The first day [of competition] I ran decent but I wish I could run better. But it was easy from then so I know I was going to run well. The semifinal was a bad race so I was a little down mentally, so I talked with our physio who helped me get ready mentally. She told me physically I am there, along with the coach, who said to just have confidence in myself. So after they talked with me I was ready to go and the rest is history,” said Burke who is coached by Olympic great Carl Lewis at the University of Houston. 

The sprinter said his first year at Houston went well and he felt proud to know that the best in the world had faith in him. 

“Working under Carl Lewis for the first year at University I tried to stay healthy, work on my technique because that was plaguing me in the past. But now I fix it up a little bit and I am ready to go. My start was off this whole year but at World Juniors it came together and I had a good start,” he said.

Burke crossed the finish line in Poland in 10.26 seconds behind the second placed Filippo Tortu of Italy in 10.24 and 18-year-old Noah Lyles of United States who clocked 10.17 for the gold medal.

Now that he is back home on break Burke said he intends to enjoy the Crop Over festival with family and friends.

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