Flying high! - Williams-Mills looks to Cayman after JII exploits

Flying high! - Williams-Mills looks to Cayman after JII exploits

Williams-Mills to feed off speedy season's opener

BY PAUL A REID Observer Writer

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

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TOP Jamaican female 400m star Novlene Williams-Mills will enter tomorrow's inaugural Cayman Invitational track and field meet on a high note after Saturday's stirring run in defending her JN Jamaica International Invitational (JII) title at the National Stadium.

Williams Mills, who later credited the Jamaican crowd for giving her the motivation to catch the fast-starting American Sanya Richards-Ross, dug in and produced a stirring stretch drive that saw her win in a world-leading 49.99 seconds -- her best opening time ever and also her best time in three years since recording 49.77 at the World Championships in Berlin in 2009.

An ecstatic Williams-Mills, who is based in Orlando, Florida, was at a loss for words when asked in a post race interview, which was better for her -- the win or the fast time?

"Both of them were good," she responded. "It's always good to come out and give the home town crowd a good show and I think we were able to do that."

The former Ferncourt High and University of Florida athlete said she felt she had to defend national pride.

"This is home, nowhere is better than home and to have the crowd behind you; it's great," she said, adding that "it motivates you to go out there and run a little bit harder for them to cheer you on".

Regarding the last 30 metres of the race, Williams-Mills said: "I know I have been training hard and I know I'm strong and I just went for it."

The 2006 Commonwealth Games silver medallist who was a member of the Jamaican 4x400m team which was beaten by the Richards-Ross-led USA team at the Penn Relays the previous weekend, said she used that loss as motivation. She said she saw that her rivals have all been working hard, and that pushed her to go the extra mile.

Williams-Mills told reporters she had not changed anything about her preparation this year, except to work that much harder: "Just to train harder and smarter," she said.

And this approach seems to be working as Williams-Mills has never opened so fast before.

"To come out and open with 49 seconds, I have never done that before so I know I am in great shape," she gushed.

Williams-Mills, who is the reigning National 400m champion, will compete in her pet event in the Cayman Islands before moving on to the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Shanghai, China on May 19.

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