IAAF tables vindicate Briana Williams

May 02, 2019

According to one important measure, Briana Williams was a deserving recipient of the Austin Sealy Award at the Carifta Junior Games last month. Williams won both of the under-20 sprints and helped Jamaica to win the 4x100m relay, but some felt that another triple gold medal winner should have won the award. However, a tool developed by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) places the 2018 World Under-20 100m and 200m champion well ahead.

That tool is the IAAF's Scoring Table. This statistical instrument assigns points of performances in every track and field discipline, with the goal of establishing a basis for comparison. At the Carifta Games, which were hosted for the third time in the Cayman Islands, the 17-year-old Williams romped to winning times of 11.25 and 22.89 seconds. The comparison table gives those performances 1146 points each.

Some fans feel that Williams' teammate Shaquena Foote should have won the prestigious honour. Foote won the under-20 400m in 52.63 seconds and the 400m hurdles in the personal- best time of 58.05 seconds and completed a triple with a fast leg on the 4x400m relay. According to the 2017 edition of the Scoring Tables however, Foote's performances are worth just 1102 and 1078 points, respectively.

To achieve parity, the 18-year-old Foote would have needed to achieve times of 51.51 seconds in the flat 400 and 55.87 in the hurdles.

Williams was happy to join the likes of Usain Bolt and Bahamian Anthonique Strachan, a repeat winner of the award.

"I didn't expect to win it again, and even though I have won it two times", she told STAR Sports, "I'm very proud of myself." Foote at first thought she might be the one to join Jon Jones, Andrea Thomas, Michelle Freeman, Inez Turner, Claudine Williams, Nikole Mitchell, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby, Usain Bolt and Williams to take the award home.

However, in an interview at the Penn Relays, Foote said, "She is my teammate and I was happy she was able to win it."

"I thought I could win the award, but after I saw Briana in the 4x100m," she reflected, "I thought she would win."

The award is named after Sir Austin Sealy, the Barbadian who founded the Games 48 years ago.

The tables make interesting reading. Bolt's 100m world record of 9.58 seconds nets 1356 points. To match that, the world records for the 400m, the 110m hurdles, and discus throw would need to move from 43.03 to 42.54 seconds, from 12.80 to 12.49 seconds, and from 74.08 to 76.01m, respectively.

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