Williams driven by hurdles challenge
Jamaica's Danielle Williams competes in the women's 100m hurdles heat during the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, on Friday, August 5, 2022. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

BIRMINGHAM, England — Danielle Williams, Jamaica's 2015 World Championships gold medal-winning sprint hurdler, says she is excited by the challenge of keeping up with the improved performances being witnessed in her event.

Williams, a finalist at the World Championships in Eugene a few days ago, was comfortable in qualifying for tomorrow's 100m hurdles final at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, clocking a windy 12.80 seconds (+2.5) to finish second in her heat.

The Gold Coast 2018 silver medallist had the best seat in the house as she followed Nigerian Tobi Amusan to the line in her stunning 12.12-second world record run during the semi-finals in Eugene, and believes the onus is on herself and other contenders to find ways to improve and push the event even further in the future.

The previous world record was 12.20 seconds, which was posted by American Kendra Harrison in 2016.

WILLIAMS...I think it's the most competitive event on track Photo: Naphtali Junior)

"What can I say? I love my event! I think it's the most competitive event on track. You always have to be finding ways to improve to get better in my event, otherwise you will probably get left behind," said Williams.

"The standard has definitely been raised. I don't think 12.4 or 12.5 seconds is going to cut it anymore so you have to find a way to get yourself into 12.3 and lower consistently, and so I look forward to that challenge."

Williams, who is coming off her best performance of the year in Eugene with her 12.41 clocking in the semis, is looking forward to making the most of the opportunities at the Commonwealth Games despite suffering a setback in the build-up to yesterday's run.

"I'm happy to be back. It's a competition and I love to compete so any chance I get to compete and represent Jamaica is definitely something that I savour. The Commonwealth Games, you know, if I come on here and I'm able to win then it's another title under my belt — and that's all that matters," said Williams.

"It's kind of two-sided. I mean, I'm coming off of a season-best in Eugene coming into this championship so you would think I'd be on my 'A' game, but unfortunately I suffered a setback while I was preparing for this championship," Williams shared.

"Yesterday [Thursday] was the first time I actually had a chance to practise over the barriers and so I just came out here trying to do the best, make it to the next round, and give myself another chance," she said.

Williams is one of Jamaica's most consistent performers in the event in recent years, adding a bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships, a Diamond League title, and four national championships to her credit.

Her personal best of 12.32 seconds, done in 2019, was the national record in the event until Britany Anderson's 12.31-second run at the World Championships in Eugene upstaged her time.

Williams is also responsible for four of the seven fastest times ever recorded by a Jamaican in the event, a statistic that underlines her consistently high levels of performance.

BY ANDRE LOWE Sports content manager lowea@jamaicaobserver.com

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