When Sada Williams thinks about what she achieved this season, the 24-year-old knows it could have long-lasting significance for the next generation of athletes in Barbados.
“It definitely is an example to the other ones coming up that even though we’re from a little island, we can do big things,” she says. “It’s a great feeling to be an example.”
Williams’ story is not simply that of a gifted sprinter fulfilling her talent, becoming, as she did, the first Barbadian woman ever to win a medal at the World Athletics Championships when taking 400m bronze in Oregon. It’s also a story of an athlete navigating the notoriously difficult path from the underage to senior, overcoming injuries and making a tough choice to leave her nation behind to ultimately get where she wanted to be.
Williams was born in Saint Philip in the eastern part of Barbados but grew up in Saint Michael on the west side of the island. In global terms, Barbados is a tiny place – just 34km long and 23km wide, with a population of just under 300,000 – yet like many Caribbean islands, it punches significantly above its weight in sprinting, most notably through the world 110m hurdles title won by Ryan Brathwaite in 2009 and the Olympic 100m bronze medal won by Obadele Thompson in 2000.
SOURCE: WORLD ATHLETICS