Bronze medal high jumper has untapped talent - coach
Even though she celebrated her 29th birthday on October 3, Commonwealth Games high jump bronze medal winner Kimberly Williamson has untapped potential. That’s the expert assessment of her coach, Marlon Gayle. Speaking at the MVP Grassroots Camp at...
Even though she celebrated her 29th birthday on October 3, Commonwealth Games high jump bronze medal winner Kimberly Williamson has untapped potential. That’s the expert assessment of her coach, Marlon Gayle.
Speaking at the MVP Grassroots Camp at the G.C. Foster College for Physical Education on October 15, coach Gayle sees her reaching even higher standards.
“There is still a lot more untapped talent that she has and things that we have not perfected yet,” he argued.
National champion as an Edwin Allen High School student athlete with Gayle as her coach, Williamson had a fine 2022 season. Both Williamson and Lamara Distin made history as the first Jamaican women to contest a high jump final at the World Athletics Championships, placing 11th and ninth, respectively. Then, they skipped over to Birmingham, England, where Distin and Williamson placed first and third, respectively, at the Commonwealth Games. Gayle saluted them. “Both Williamson and Distin would have created history for the World Championships in terms of their performances, making the final, and also for the Commonwealth Games,” he said, while noting that Distin is the first Jamaican woman to win the Commonwealth Games high jump.
Delighted at Williamson’s achievement, he credited her attitude. “One of the good things is that the athlete has displayed a high level of determination and self-belief and certainly, many persons would have contributed in encouraging her. That support system certainly has worked, because many athletes, especially of that stature, probably would have retired or given up long before,” he said.
The only other Jamaican to compete in a World Championship high jump final was the late Germaine Mason, who placed fifth in the men’s event in 2003. In the 2008 Olympics, he took second place for Great Britain.
Williamson cleared a personal-best 1.93 metres in Nashville, Tennessee, in June to confirm the promise she showed when she set the national under-20 record of 1.88m. In 2016, she won the NCAA title for Kansas State. With Gayle at track side, she took the bronze at the 2019 Pan American Games.
“One of the things, as I said before, that has been consistent is her determination to be a better version of herself, and she has done that as a person, both psychologically and physically,” Gayle emphasised.
With competition scarce at home, Williamson went to meets in Bermuda, California, Kansas, Nairobi and Nashville to get in line for the World Championships. “We had to go in the meets that improved her world ranking; and by virtually trying time and time again, working on the areas of weakness, we were able to attain a personal best,” he explained.
She jumped in those meets before the Jamaican National Championships, where she was an upset winner over Distin.
An injury hampered her at the season-ending North American Central American and Caribbean Open Championships in The Bahamas, but Gayle is seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
“It is not so much a major injury, but we are working our way back to better. Despite the age being a factor, we see Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce performing like the quality of fine wine at 35. I think the fact that she does field events - and we would have seen a lot of field event athletes being relevant up to the latter age - I’m hoping for the very same for her,” Gayle envisaged of Williamson.