Danielle Williams aims to soar at Racers spectacle

Danielle Williams aims to soar at Racers spectacle

BY SHERDON COWAN Observer staff reporter cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, May 27, 2016

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After a less than pleasing start to her 2016 campaign, World Championships 100m hurdles champion Danielle Williams is eyeing an improved performance on the circuit at the inaugural staging of the Jamaica National (JN) Racers Grand Prix.

Williams last graced the National Stadium earlier this month, and will once again relish the opportunity to compete against world-class athletes on local soil at the Grand Prix scheduled for June 11.

"First of all I want to laud the organisers of the Racers Grand Prix. I think having such a competitive event allows athletes who live and train on this side of the world an opportunity to enjoy a high-calibre competition without having to travel to Europe, where majority of races are held at this time of year.

"Travelling such far distances does have an effect on the body and you lose training days, so having a top- flight competition such as the Racers Grand Prix close by is definitely a good thing, and I’m looking forward to it," Williams told the
Jamaica Observer from her North Carolina base in the United States recently.

"I have always set goals at the beginning of the season, but I do not have any expectations other than to do my best and be as competitive as possible every time I line up to race. My Coach (Lennox Graham) has been pleased with my performances in competition and in training, but we both agree that there’s still work to be done and improvements that can be made," she added.

Having opened her Indoor season with times of 8.07 seconds in the 60m hurdles and 23.80s over 200 metres in State College in January, Williams has been gradually rounding into top form with each stride.

The Queen’s High School alumna, failing to finish at the World indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon in March, returned earlier this month on the outdoor circuit to clock a wind-aided 12.55 seconds in third place at the Jamaica International Invitational meet (JII), followed by a 12.80-second clocking at the IAAF World Challenge at the Beijing National Stadium.

Since then, Williams has been toiling in the fields as she aims to improve on her craft ahead of the National Trials scheduled for June 30 – July 3, and by extension the August Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

"My season has been progressing well so far, but I am not well pleased, because I am never fully satisfied with my performances. I always think there’s something I could have done better, and after competing at a few meets so far this year, my coach and I have identified one area of my race which is lacking.

"The aim is to be competitive from start to the first three hurdles and I have not been up to par in that regard. Therefore, that is the focus ahead of trials and the Olympics Games, as well trying to be as technically efficient as possible," the 5ft 6in athlete explained.

With that said, Williams pointed out that she has been doing extensive work on her speed and hurdling endurance, which will "prepare" her for the running of "multiple races and many rounds".

As the youngest Jamaican sprint hurdles gold medallist, a lot will once again be expected of her should she make the team to the Olympic Games.

But Williams declared that she is aware of the task at hand if she is to repeat the magnitude of the success and once again etch her name in the history books.

The 23-year-old currently has a personal best time of 12.57 seconds in the obstacle event achieved last year in Beijing, China, when winning the country’s first gold medal in the event since 2009 when Brigitte Foster-Hylton won the world title in Berlin.

"Training has picked up significantly as we are now in the vital part of the season, so mentally I am focused on the task at hand and what it is I need to do to ensure that I am ready to run. Physically, there are a few niggles that I am getting sorted out, but I feel good otherwise," she assured.

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