Jamaica’s sprint hurdles champion eyes title defence

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Following a gut-wrenching stumble which shattered her Olympics dream last year, World Championships 100-metre hurdles gold medallist Danielle Williams has turned focus to her title defence.

Williams….I used the time to recover and mentally I’m in a good place right now

Williams missed out on qualifying for Jamaica’s team to the 2016 Rio Games after faltering in the final of the obstacle event at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA)/Supreme Ventures National Senior Championships. But she claims she is finding her way back to form.

The 24-year-old, who became the youngest Jamaican sprint hurdles winner when she topped a quality field at the 2015 Beijing Championships, opened her season with a 38.25-second clocking in a 300-metre event at Clemson, South Carolina on January 14.

She returned to the same location earlier this month to time 8.09 seconds in the 60m hurdles. That is marginally slower than her opening time of 8.07 seconds last year.

The Lennox Graham-coached athlete, in an interview with this newspaper, remains quietly optimistic and is determined to become a better athlete since the 2016 mishap.

The IAAF World Championships is to take place in London, England this summer from August 4-13.

“I have learnt and applied the lessons from the misfortune; the fall was tough but it helped me to realise that the worst is likely to happen and if it does, you have to regroup and go again,” Williams, speaking from her base in the United States, told the Jamaica Observer in a recent interview.

“I used the time to recover, and mentally I’m in a good place right now. I am finding my way back to things that made me successful, because I have a title to defend later this year,” she added.

Williams ran a personal best 12.57s in winning the country’s first gold medal in the event since 2009 when Brigitte Foster-Hylton won the world title in Berlin. That clocking saw her get closer to the national record of 12.45 seconds, held by Foster-Hylton.

Though her focus is not on achieving that feat just yet, the refuelled Queen’s School alumna is fully motivated to make a major comeback.

“I wouldn’t say there are any new developments where my preparations are concerned; I’ve been in training and my preparations are going well, so I am looking forward to competing to the best of my ability as I always do,” Williams noted.

“In life there will be disappointments and your next best move will be determined by how much you learn and how well you bounce back from those setbacks,” she continued.

“So my expectations, like I said, are to compete well and give a good account of myself. Of course, above all, the aim is to defend my title, so I’m putting in all the necessary work to achieve that goal,” Williams ended. (Jamaica Observer) 

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