Running with a purpose
Sada Williams is naturally nervous.
She always smiles, but seldom talks to people outside of her family and schoolmates. She isn’t comfortable doing interviews, and likes her coach to be at her side, making things a bit easier.
But don’t be fooled. Sada Williams is a little tigress.
It’s in her blood. It’s her pedigree.
Sitting on the stage of the school hall at Coleridge and Parry earlier this week, Sada, her usual smile lighting up the room, appeared quite jittery as she faced hundreds of her peers, all cock-a-hoop in celebrating her success at the 43rd Carifta Games in Martinique, where she won a gold and a silver medal.
But in a few moments the twitching and leg jerking stopped, as her mother Shernel Williams held her hand, and with a whisper and a smile, infused a bucket of confidence.
That’s where the pedigree comes in. That’s where the quiet confidence, alluded to on that day by principal Vincent Fergusson stands out.
You see, her aunt Sherlene Williams has also been there, and done that at CARIFTA as well. Anytime Sada needs advice or real-life track experiences, she doesn’t have far to look.
Sherlene, as a student of the Princess Margaret School in 1996, made her own indelible mark on the Carifta Games, producing the enviable double in the 400 metres and 800 metres.
Still, young Sada, at 16 years old has a ways to go, but she is sure down which path she plans to run.
“I want to be an Olympian. I want a medal at the Olympics. That’s my main goal,” she said during an interview at her school.
But Williams has come a long way already, admitting she only started taking herself seriously recently. “My coach had to get behind me a lot. I didn’t even take training seriously at first, but I do now. I work really hard now.”
According to Williams, she ran a lot in first and second form for her set (school house), but only began thinking about competitive track and field when her natural talent took her to the front of the field. “I know now the work that it takes. I’m back training already. I started last Monday and I’m very serious about it,” Williams revealed.
The coach she mentioned, Ramon Armstrong, head of the school’s Physical Department, was with her in Martinique, and has been an integral part of her development.
He has big plans for her this summer too, as Sada will move from taking on the Caribbean, to taking on the world.
She is now scheduled to compete in the Central American and Caribbean Games in Mexico and the Junior World Championships in Oregon in the United States, both in July, then the Youth Olympics in China, in August.
“We have big plans for her, and there is a lot of hard work along the way,” he warned. “In China she will be competing against older athletes, so we will have our work cut out.”
Williams revealed that in spite of her shy nature, she plans one day to become a psychologist. “I’m shy, but when I’m with my friends I’m always talking to them and helping them, so that’s what I want to do.”
The Kirtons, St Philip resident said that growing up in Upper Carlton, St James as a child, she never thought her running fast would bring her the accolades she has received since returning from Martinique.
“I never thought this would happen,” she said while smiling.
Williams said she didn’t mix much while on her trip to Carifta, apart from talking to her team-mates, especially Triston Gibbons, her school-mate at Coleridge & Parry.
But she did enjoy the experience. Williams prompted heavy laughter from a number of her teachers, when taking them through her 400 metre gold medal performance.
“When the race started, there were three girls ahead of me, and I was wondering why they were running so fast. And I was wondering where they were going. So I then run as fast as I could. I actually sprinted the whole race after that,” she revealed.
That performance, which produced a personal best time of 53.39 seconds was not only the fast 400 metre run by a female quarter-miler at the Games, but also ranked her 8th for the event by juniors as rated by the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF).
Williams, who will be doing a number of CXC examinations this summer, said she also plans to earn a scholarship to a United States university to start her collegiate career, in an attempt to ready her for the Olympic Games.