Sport

'Time to walk away!'

Williams-Mills to call time on splendid career at end of track

BY PAUL A REID
Observer writer
reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, June 03, 2017



It's time,” says long-serving Jamaican female quarter-miler Novlene Williams-Mills, as she prepares to call time on her dramatic career at the end of this track and field season, after more than a decade of representing Jamaica with distinction at the highest level.The 35-year-old, who won an individual bronze at the IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan, in 2007, and was part of the team that mined gold in the 4x400m in Beijing, China, two years ago, says she has no regrets as she plans to hang up her spikes.

“(I have) no regrets... I think I have done enough for the past 10 years or so, and it's time to walk away,” she said after a tremendous run to win the Women's 400m at the Jamaica International Invitational (JII) at the National Stadium last month, running a season's best 50.54 seconds and getting to the line just ahead of American Phyllis Francis.

Only three Jamaicans have run faster than Williams-Mills' personal best 49.63 seconds set 11 years ago in Shanghai, China, in 2006. They are national record holder Lorraine Fenton (49.30 seconds), Shericka Williams (49.32 seconds) and Grace Jackson (49.57 seconds).

Six World Championships individual appearances and five finals, as well as four Olympic Games appearances, are the highlights of a senior career that started with the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, for the former Ferncourt High and University of Florida athlete.

In her first JII meet since 2012, Williams-Mills, who had a long, unbeaten run at the National Stadium, rolled back the years with a well-timed run that saw her catch the early pacesetters and win in front of an appreciative crowd.

“It feels good to come home and run a fantastic race in front of my home crowd. I am happy,” she said then, but was not sure where she would be running again before the National Trials.

“Not sure what the rest of the season will bring,” she told reporters.

While Williams-Mills will always be remembered for the accomplished quarter-miler she is, her battles and consequent victory over cancer will be an unforgettable point of reference, as she became a symbol of inspiration for many the world over.

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