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Trinidadian coach Ato Boldon admits he was taken aback and somewhat surprised by sharp criticism that erupted from some T&T nationals regarding his coaching of Jamaica sprint double champion Briana Williams.

Boldon, an Olympic silver medallist and World Champion, faced a torrent of criticism after taking to social media platform Instagram with a live feed that featured his pre-World U-20 Championship preparation with Williams ahead of the event in Finland.

Some accused the T&T national of turning his back on the twin-island republic to help Jamaica continue their dominant run in sprinting. Boldon has found the allegations shocking based on the fact that he also currently conditions young T&T star Khalifa St Fort.

“I was kind of surprised because Trinis were coming on my feed and saying ‘this is a real shame look how you are there with this Jamaican girl’. It kind of blew my mind I was really shocked to see it,” Boldon said in an exclusive interview.

“I see it as a teaching moment. I had to remind some of them that I also coach Khalifa St Fort. Between 2015 and 2017 Khalifa St Fort has won eight international medals and I have been a part of nine international medals for Trinidad and Tobago. Let’s not make it seem like somehow I ditched my country to go and help Jamaica continue to dominate,” he added.

The 20-year-old St Fort remains one of T&T hottest prospects for future global medals. Even as a 17-year-old she featured as a part of a national record-setting World Championship bronze medal team for Trinidad and Tobago, a fact that Williams has previously pointed to as a source of inspiration.

“I have two people in my camp. What people don’t understand is that Khalifa is going through the transition from junior to senior and now Briana is doing very well. This is not abandoning one for the other…When we went live I thought people would have been more interested in what Briana was doing at her start and it turned into kind of ‘hey look at this guy that is Trini but he is working with a Jamaican’.

Source: Kwesi Mugisa

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