From TCI to Moscow

Delano Williams

By Dania Bogle, writing from Kingston

While many Jamaicans seemed pleased about Delano Williams' qualification for Great Britain's World Championships team, track and field aficionados believe the athlete made the right choice in turning his ambitions to Britain.
The reigning world junior 200m champion, who hails from the Turks and Caicos Islands, became a recognisable face to Jamaicans while competing at the annual Boys and Girls Athletic Championships during his five years at Munro College in the island.
He gained legendary status in 2013 after winning back-to-back Class One 100m and 200m titles at “Champs”, the first athlete to do so since 1986.   
Track and field reporter Paul Reid, whose speciality is athletics in Western Jamaica and who saw Williams' progression over the years, believes the athlete assimilated well.
"He has been here for about six years and has made himself a part of the culture and the lifestyle," says Reid.
He’s become a Jamaican
Dr Paul Auden, who was a mentor to Williams while he was at Munro, agrees.
"[He] eats Jamaican food and loves it; loves Jamaican music; Jamaican girlfriend. In other words, he has become Jamaican. Enough said."
Williams himself told Caribbean Intelligence© that he now feels like a Jamaican after having lived here so long, but opted to try out for the British team for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow in August.
He was selected for the 60- member team to compete in the 200m and 4x400m relay after finishing third in the 200m in July. 
Williams will continue to train in Jamaica with celebrated coach Glen Mills, who also conditions double sprint world record holder Usain Bolt.
Reid believes the athlete would have represented the black, green and gold if he could: "I am sure if he could make the [Jamaica] senior team, he would have switched and run for us, [but] I think he made the right decision to switch to GB, as he will get the financial backing he needs."
Williams also confided to Dr Auden: "He [Williams] said to me a few years ago, too many athletes athlete ahead of him on the Jamaican ladder, all running sub-20 seconds."
Jamaican support
Most agree that switching allegiance to Britain was the right move for Williams.
Excelsior High school boys’ track coach David Riley said: "Delano is fine where he is at. No need to jump in the Jamaican fire. He has opted well."
Local high school throws coach Michael Vassell shares that view.
"Delano is like reverse colonisation," he told Caribbean Intelligence©.
"The same thing we were accused of doing to the American system of sending our kids to be finished is now being done by the other nations. So technically, we made him."
Some local track fans said they would cheer for the athlete, regardless of this being an international competition, where he may find himself in a line-up with some Jamaicans.
"I would cheer for him. He was honed here in Jamaica. Everything he knows, he learnt here,” one fan, Bruce Taylor, told Caribbean Intelligence ©. 
Another, Garfield Jones, added: "He did the best that he could do for him. He couldn't make the Jamaica team... so GB was his best option. And we always saw him as the adopted son."
"I like him. His heart is bigger than him," Mr Jones concluded.
Jamaicans can afford to be generous with those they have nurtured, given the athletic talent still remaining, despite recent drug allegations and injuries.