Two-time world sprint hurdles champion Williams yearns for Olympic Games debut
AFTER falling short in her attempts to qualify for the past two Olympic Games, two-time world 100m hurdles champion Danielle Williams is highly motivated to secure a spot on Jamaica’s team for this year’s event in Paris, France.
Williams, 31, claimed the title of global champion in the sprint hurdles by shocking her opponents at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, last year, winning her second world title.
Running from lane one — traditionally considered a disadvantage in hurdles — she defied the odds to stun the field and capture first place. It was a moment that resonated throughout the Caribbean and beyond, highlighting an athlete who had genuinely earned her place among the world’s elite.
Despite her remarkable global success there has been a notable gap in her athletic journey — a void marked by the absence of the iconic Olympic rings.
The grandeur of the Olympic Games had eluded her until now. In fact, at the National Championships four years ago Williams failed to secure a spot on the Jamaican team for the Tokyo Olympics, after finishing fourth in the final. She also missed making the team for the previous Olympic Games after falling in the final at the National Championships.
“I am super motivated just like every year, and this year is no different. I am more motivated because it is the Olympics and this might be my final chance to make an Olympic team because I am not young anymore. This is the only medal missing from my trophy cabinet, and this is what I am really working towards,” Williams, who was Friday named runner-up at the National Sportsman and Sportswoman Awards, said.
“I am super focused, and super confident, and highly motivated. I know that as long as I am in great health — not nursing any injuries, and in the best shape — I can win amongst the best hurdlers out there in the world,” the Jamaican said.
Williams, who won her first world title in 2015 in Beijing, China, has a personal best time of 12.32 in the event. She also won a bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
However, despite her exploits on the track last season, Williams — who was the joint fastest Jamaican woman in the world last year along with Ackera Nugent with a time of 12.43 — highlighted that there is no pressure on her this year to replicate her success in 2023. American Kendra Harrison was the fastest woman in the event in 223 with a time of 12.24.
“The aim is to go out there and compete hard, give my best, and execute to the best of my abilities each time I step on the track,” she said. “No, I never feel pressured because I am never the favourite,” she asserted. “In any race that I go into I am never the favorite, and by virtue of that there is always somebody who has been running super fast that year or the defending champion of some sort,” she said.
Williams emphasised that this could be her last shot at making the Jamaican team, and she is therefore prepared to give it her all at the National Championships this year.
“The Olympic champion this year will be under some pressure, I believe, so I have never felt that I am under any pressure when I go into any race. Nobody is ever looking at me because every time I win, it is always a surprise to other people so I feel that I am never under pressure.
“I have never competed at the Olympics, and that is my sole motivation this year — to achieve that goal,” Williams stated.