World champion Danielle Williams optimistic about Olympic debut after strong performance at Jamaica Athletics Invitational

By May 12, 2024

Danielle Williams, the reigning 2023 World Championships gold medallist in the 100m hurdles, is feeling optimistic about her chances of making her first Olympic team following a promising showing at the Jamaica Athletics Invitational in Kingston on Saturday night.

Despite finishing second in the 100m hurdles with a season-best time of 12.46, Williams displayed confidence and determination as she spoke about her performance and her preparations leading up to the national trials at the end of June.

Looking on, it appeared that Williams had an early lead before losing momentum mid-race which allowed world-record holder, Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan to surge through to out-lean Williams at the line.

Amusan won in a world-leading 12.40 with the USA’s Christina Clemons finishing third in 12.54.

Williams explained what she believed occurred in the race.

"I didn’t feel like I slowed down in the middle of the race. I touched one of the hurdles which has been my Achilles heel so far," Williams commented. "Still working on it so that was probably what happened but I feel like I was still able to get back the momentum to through to the end. I feel like we’re going in the right direction."

Williams highlighted the importance of being healthy this season, expressing gratitude for her current condition compared to previous years. "Oh, we give God thanks for that because for the past few seasons this time of the year I’ve always been dealing with something," she explained. "So to make it so far and we’re doing very good, we’re managing the injuries, I think we’re in a good spot."

Looking ahead to the upcoming national trials, which are six weeks away, Williams deferred to her coach, Lennox Graham, but emphasized her confidence in her current form. "I don’t necessarily know how close we are," she admitted. "Coach Lennox Graham designed the workouts, I just show up so I don’t know where we are for that but I know we are in very good shape. We’re doing awesome in training, we’re healthy so we’re just giving God glory and thanking Him for bringing us so far and asking Him to carry us for the rest of the way."

The Jamaica Athletics Invitational also witnessed strong performances from other athletes, including Daniel Roberts of the USA, who won the 110m hurdles in 13.17, and Eric Edwards, also from the USA, who finished second with a time of 13.33. Jamaican hurdler Lafranz Campbell secured third place in the event with a time of 13.37.

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

Related items

  • A blessing: “Cousin” Asher-Smith thrilled to finally compete in front of Jamaican crowd A blessing: “Cousin” Asher-Smith thrilled to finally compete in front of Jamaican crowd

    Jamaican track & field fans have earned a reputation as some of the most passionate and supportive people you will ever come across and, for British sprint superstar Dina Asher-Smith, seeing it up close and personal at the Jamaica Athletics Invitational on May 11 was a riveting experience.

    Asher-Smith, a proud member of the Jamaican diaspora herself through her father Winston, ran her second-fastest time of the young season, 22.59, to take top spot in the Women’s 200m at the inaugural edition of the meet held at the National Stadium in Kingston.

    The 28-year-old, in a post-race interview, said that, regardless of the result, she felt “blessed” to finally compete in Jamaica.

    “It’s something that I’ve wanted to do forever and ever. I am a part of the Jamaican diaspora around the world,” she said before pointing out that her parents flew in from London to see her compete.

    “I’m just so proud to have come here and, however today would’ve gone, it’s just a blessing to come here and race in Jamaica,” she added.

    The 2019 World 200m champion, in another interview after her race with The Inside Lane, expounded on her experience competing in Jamaica.

    “I’m just so blessed to be in this country and blessed that they support me on that level,” she said.

    “I don’t think I can quite articulate what it means to come to another country and they want you to do well and they’re so happy that you’re here. I think, as an athlete, we all want the medals, we all want the titles, we all want the records but at the same time, it means a lot that people want to see you do well,” she added.

    The British record holder in both the 100m and 200m said the support from fans even extended to off the track, mentioning that Jamaican guests at the hotel she stayed at often referred to her as “cousin” based on her Jamaican heritage.

    “It’s been amazing. I’ve always known that the Jamaican fans are so supportive but being here and seeing it up close like when you’re in the hotel and people also staying there are like ‘cousin, cousin!’ It means so much because when you’ve got your actual roots celebrating you and they like you for who you are, I can’t even describe the feeling. It’s so amazing.”

     

  • Cavalier SC clinch Jamaica Premier League title in dramatic penalty shootout victory over Mount Pleasant Cavalier SC clinch Jamaica Premier League title in dramatic penalty shootout victory over Mount Pleasant

    Cavalier SC secured their third Jamaica Premier League title in thrilling fashion on Sunday night, defeating defending champions Mount Pleasant FA 4-3 on penalties at the National Stadium in Kingston.

    After a hard-fought 1-1 draw in regulation and extra time, the match was decided by a tense penalty shootout. Cavalier SC goalkeeper Vino Barclett emerged as the hero, making two crucial saves during the shootout. Nicholas Hamilton, who entered the game late in extra time, sealed the victory with the decisive penalty.

    Mount Pleasant had taken the lead in the 65th minute through Devonte Campbell, whose well-placed shot found the net. However, Cavalier SC quickly responded just two minutes later when Richard King leveled the score from close range.

    Despite both teams pushing for a winner in extra time, neither could break the deadlock, leading to the drama of penalties. Initially trailing 0-2 in the shootout, Cavalier SC staged a remarkable comeback, holding their nerve to prevail 4-3.

     In the playoff for third place earlier in the day, Arnett Gardens secured a convincing 4-1 victory over Waterhouse.

     Cavalier SC's triumph marks a significant achievement for the club, avenging last year's final defeat to Mount Pleasant and showcasing their resilience and determination throughout the season.

  • Jonielle Smith resilient in comeback journey towards Olympic qualification Jonielle Smith resilient in comeback journey towards Olympic qualification

    Jamaican sprinter Jonielle Smith is on a determined path to overcome adversity as she sets her sights on qualifying for her first Olympic Games this summer.

    The 28-year-old athlete, who tasted victory as part of Jamaica's gold-winning 4x100m relay team at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, has faced significant setbacks following a motor-vehicle accident later that year which left her battling injuries, particularly to her back.

    After a challenging recovery, Smith's journey took her back to Jamaica, transitioning from Florida-based MVP International to the MVP Track Club, where she has been steadily rebuilding her form but it hasn’t been easy.

    “Trust me. I don’t think anybody trains as hard as Jamaicans. Last year, when I tell you my body went through it, not only from injuries but as simple as the workouts being exhausting. It definitely hit me hard but this year I feel like it’s more just injuries that are my problem rather than the workouts. So that’s a plus. Now, we’re just trying to get back to where we were or even better than where we were.”

    Despite enduring a tumultuous period with injuries limiting her appearances in 2021 and 2022, Smith remains optimistic about her prospects, especially with the Jamaican trials approaching at the end of June.

    Reflecting on her current struggles, Smith emphasized the mental fortitude required to regain her form, both in practice and competition. "It’s rough. I think this part of it is mainly mental, trying to find back myself both in practice and now in competition," she said.

    “The good thing is that practice is basically picking up so now I just have to work on continuing to be consistent and then translate that into competition.”

    Regarding her race on Saturday, where she finished third in the Women's 100m B final, Smith admitted it wasn't up to her expectations but recognized it as a stepping stone in her comeback. "It wasn’t what I expected. I really wanted more but we have to take the good with the bad," she shared.

    “Last week was my first month back so this one was like ‘alright we are we, what can we improve on. My execution wasn’t as good as last week, which I don’t like but hopefully whenever I compete again I will be much better.”

    Despite the challenges, Smith has found encouragement in her progress, particularly with her back feeling more stable. However, new issues with her shoulder and neck have emerged this year, impacting her training and race readiness. Nevertheless, Smith remains steadfast, focusing on incremental improvements each day.

     

    “Thankfully, that’s why I am even more positive now is that my back is actually now behaving. I feel like I have got stronger in those areas in terms of my glutes, hamstrings, and all those supporting areas but for some reason my shoulder and neck decided to go crazy on me this year and it’s a case where we are not really sure of what is going on but it really has affected both training and competition hence why I am basically just going at it (competition) again.

    “But we’re slowly making progress. I still have a couple weeks to go, practice is picking up which I am extremely grateful for so I just need to continue racing and translate training into competition.”

    Smith's coach and support team are working diligently to address her physical challenges and fine-tune her race execution in preparation for the upcoming trials. With just six weeks remaining, Smith is determined to translate her training efforts into competitive success and secure her spot on the Olympic team.

     

     

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.