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Vincentian athlete Courtney Williams. (Internet photo)
Vincentian athlete Courtney Williams. (Internet photo)
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By E. Glenford Prescott

Last month, Team Athletics St. Vincent and the Grenadines (TASVG) issued a media release heralding the arrival of a star:

“Courtney Williams, one of two athletes on an Olympic Solidarity Scholarship in the United States sprinted into the record books by breaking the 200m national record on his quest to Pan Am Games qualification.

“On Friday 5, June 2015, at the 2015 Texas State University Friday Night Lights All Comers Meet, Courtney lived up to long held expectations in the 200m when he clocked 20.59 secs, qualifying for the 200m event in the Pan Am Games and breaking the national record in the process,” the release stated.

The release indicated that well-placed persons in TASVG with track and field clairvoyance had seen the silhouette of ”this star” on the horizon. His record-breaking run therefore appeared to confirm what had only been visionary up to that point.

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However, one month after the acclaimed feat, many “in the know” in track and field in SVG are questioning the credibility of the information as dispensed by the local ruling body.

The persons are not questioning the integrity of TASVG but appear uncomfortable with the mark set by Williams.

Track and field coach, Michael "Mercy" Ollivierre. (Internet photo)
Track and field coach, Michael “Mercy” Ollivierre. (Internet photo)

Veteran track and field coach Michael “Mercy’ Ollivierre has expressed concerns over the time since, according to him, the athlete has never run close to that time before or after “breaking the record”.

Ollivierre said that he would only be satisfied when the equipment used in timing the event and the correct wind speed are given.

“It is really strange for an athlete who never posted that quick a time or come close to it to [do so] all of a sudden. Something is not right,” Ollivierre contends.

He said that Williams, though a good young athlete, has been put in a situation where his times would be scrutinised and compared each and every time he goes into the starting blocks for the 200 metres.

A technical official with international accreditation when asked about verification and confirmation of records said that each time a record is broken, the equipment is checked along with other things related to that particular event before it is stated as a fact.

He, like Ollivierre, said that he had some reservation with the claim of the record but preferred to allow time to produce the real evidence.

Coach Pamenos Ballantyne. (Internet photo)
Coach Pamenos Ballantyne. (Internet photo)

Top distance runner and coach Pamenos Ballantyne, not one to ignore an issue regarding track and field, was forthright in query of the time.

“There is no way that Courtney Williams could run that time there. No way,” Ballantyne said with the usual passion in his voice.

“Look at his times since then. He went to St. Kitts and other places and never came close to that time. He is running high 21’s and 22’s. So where did he get that speed all of a sudden?”.

The concerns of both Ollivierre and Ballantyne appear to have some merit as Williams at the Lobo Collegiate Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico posting a time of 22.32 seconds and placing 3rd in his 200-metres heat then.

Ballantyne said there are at least three athletes, among them CARIFTA Junior silver medallist Reuberth Boyde, who are doing much better times than Williams, the son of former SVG speedster Carl Williams.

He said that Williams is being given a grant of US$1,000 a month because of an Olympic Solidarity Scholarship and TASVG are happy that this time came through so he can go to the Pan Am Games in Canada.

A call to the cell phone of General Secretary of TASVG Tyrone James was met with the response: Sorry but the persons you’ve called is unavailable” while a call to chairman of selectors Rohan Thomas was also met with a blank.

The 200 metres record of 20.76 was set by top athlete Eswort Coombs 20 years ago — in May 1995 — at the NJCAA Championships in Odessa, United States.

That same year, Coombs, 23 at the time, won the 400 metres at the World University Students Games in Fukuoka in Japan in a time of 45.38 seconds.

He also claimed gold over the same distance at the CAC Games in Guatemala that same year.


4 replies on “Coaches question Courtney Williams’ ‘record breaking’ run”

  1. Glenford, coaches…please check the link
    This shows the time and windspeed. In regard to what timing system was used, I suggest a simple email to the school.
    Unless you are questioning something else then it seems to me that your accusations have no merit?
    I note that Glenford says he tried to contact several people. What was the nature of this effort? Was it phone calls? Text messages? Emails? If so, how much time was given to get a response?
    I am in Toronto at the Pan Am Games and I find this article and the timing to be distasteful. There are no facts, just speculation? Did you think about the potential damage to the reputation and integrity of the young man? The TASVG?
    What exactly is the purpose of the article? To publish wild unfounded speculation? pamenos, I expect better from you. Please……lets get some facts before we do the typical Vincentian thing……tear down and destroy. Courtney will be running in a few days to represent our country. I don’t think he needs to hear these wild unfounded accusations with NO facts to back them up. Please guys, let’s do better.

  2. TeacherFang says:

    A simple goggle research could have given “mercy” all the info he wants, such as the wind measurement…I have no doubts that the equipment used at these events are up to par.

    Here is the bottom line, at the Texas University meet, Courtney Williams ran 20.59 with a wind of 0.9…and he came in second place. And this idea that “Mecry” is talking that he needs to know about the equipment and wind…go $@!# yourself with that BS…THE IAAF ALREADY RECORDED THIS TIME IN THEIR RECORDS…IF THE IAAF RECOGNIZED THE TIME, WELL THAT IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW…I think its very unprofessional and very much small minded for these coaches to be publicly throwing shade on a promising upcoming athlete as Mr Williams.

    I know there are a lot of cynicism in track and field where times are concerned. But I think folks should hold back judgment on athletes, especially those who have done nothing in the past to be suspicious of. The bone of contention for these two coaches is that Williams never ran anything near this time that he did at this meet; Ok, well how about everything just clicked that night…maybe the track was a fast one…he had a very good start…ah mean give the kid the benefit of the doubt that everything was on the up and up…WTF with all this negativity. Look, I have seen athletes put together a race and ran some great times and then flounder in their next races…its not that strange as these coaches are making it to be…I am not swearing for Mr Williams, I am simply giving him the benefit of doubt that his “record breaking run” was legit.

    Here is the thing, if any one of these coaches had anything to do with Mr Williams, they wouldn’t be bitc#ing and moaning in this fashion…they would have said he is the greatest thing since Bolt…

  3. Daniel Tambo Samuel Campbell says:

    If the race has already been ratified by the International Association of Athletics Federation, then what is the issue here?…

    The following article highlights the winner of the race in which Courtney Williams set the record.

    “Bermudian sprinter Tre Houston has qualified in the 200m for the 2015 World Championships in China, with his time of 20.42 seeing him ranked 52nd in the world.

    BNAA President Donna Watson said, “The BNAA are pleased to announce that Tre Houston has met the qualifying standard for the World Championships which will be held August 22nd – 30th in Beijing, China in the 200m.

    “Tre ran a time of 20.42 in a meet June 5th at ‘The 2015 Texas State University Friday night all comers meet’ with the qualifying standard being 20.50.

    ““This had to be sent to the IAAF for confirmation and it has been ratified by the IAAF [International Association of Athletics Federation] and he is now ranked 52nd on the World list in the 200m,” added Ms Watson.

    “This is very exciting as you are aware Tre has been in the sport of Track & Field for many years and to see the fruits of his labor and hard work come to fruition is great for us.

    “At the moment Tre is the only athlete thus far to make the standard. Tyrone [Smith] jumped the distance in Long Jump but unfortunately the wind was over the legal limit.”

    Full results of the event can be found at the following website:

    The full results of the event are posted on the following website:

    Event 11 Men 200 Meter Dash ELITE MEN
    Name Age Team Finals Wind H#
    1 Houston, Harold Elite Performanc 20.42 0.9 1
    2 Williams, Courtney Unattached 20.59 0.9 1
    3 Price, Tim Unattached 21.07 0.5 2
    4 Clarke, Allistar Elite Performanc 21.26 0.5 2
    5 Jackson Jr, Charles Unattached 21.36 0.5 2
    6 Betters, LeJerald 27 Unattached 21.59 0.9 1
    7 Bartholemu, Randall Elite Performanc 21.67 0.9 1
    8 Brooks, Jerome Unattached 22.52 0.5 2
    9 Devine, James 35 Unattached 23.98 0.5 2
    10 Hector, Dunte 25 Unattached 24.97 0.5 2

  4. SERIOUSLY????
    Why are they questioning the talent of this aspiring young athlete,that God’s willing can represent St Vincent and the Grenadines in many athletic meets?
    Mr Ballantyne would you like it if we go back and scrutinize your many records?
    Come on this Young man will be carrying the country’s flag at the Pam Am Games,and there is nothing you all can do about it.I wish Him all the Best!

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