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TrackLife International

British ¼-Miler Wears Jamaica Tatoo

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As lead-off quarter-milers settled in their blocks for the men’s 4x400m relay at the 2014 European Championships, the camera zoomed in on Britain’s Conrad Williams in lane 5, enlarging a tattoo on his right bicep: an outline of the island of Jamaica with the island’s name across it.

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Williams at London 2012.

While the commentators seemed oblivious to it, my curiosity was immediately aroused; why would an athlete represent one country while displaying his sentiments for another through body art? For a moment, I believed I was on to something big until my quick research provided me the answer and made me blame myself for not paying attention before to this British elite athlete.

Well, the story is that Williams was born in Kingston, Jamaica and moved to London when he was 14 years of age to join his mother, which explains the seemingly sentimental tattoo for all to see.

Unlike almost all Jamaican runners who began their track career in high school or just before, Williams, who initially engaged in football and basketball, started sprinting only at the ripe age of 20, when Grenada’s Kirani James was already World and Olympic 400m champion. However, it took him just eight months to make the British team.

According to the Huffington Post Web site, Williams started out doing long jump and triple jump for his club, but he only running the 400m or 4x400m if someone dropped out.

Now 32 years old, the late bloomer is established on the world stage with significant success in relay running. He won silver medals as part of the British 4x400m relay squads at the 2009 World Championships and in the European Championships of 2010 and 2012. His latest achievements came when he helped Britain mine gold at the 2014 European Athletics Championships after contributing to England’s victory at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

He has a 400m personal best time of 45.08, registered in 2012.

Coached by another British Jamaican, former 100m Olympic champion Linford Christie, Williams gets himself into shape with a strict training routine of up to 3-4 hours a day to be race ready. He also incorporates a mix of track workouts with gym sessions.

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