In his 4th article from Brussels, Stuart Weir writes of the magnifiscent Danielle Williams, and how she put the author in his rightful place when he challenged her ( humorously) over 2 PBs in 90 minutes!
Danielle Williams – Diamond League champion, 100m hurdles
Danielle Williams won the 100m hurdles in the Beijing 2015 World Championship but, of course, we all know she was lucky. She only won because leader, Tiffany Porter, stumbled over the final hurdle. She only won because the Americans failed to deliver; Dawn Harper-Nelson fell, Keni Harrison false-started and Olympic champion, Sally Pearson, was injured.
The alternative narrative is that Danielle Williams is a magnificent hurdler and was as worthy a World Champion as she is a worthy Diamond League champion. In Brussels she won in 12.46 with Keni Harrison second in 12.73 and Americans second, third, fourth and fifth.
Williams said afterwards: “IÂ´m really happy with the win. A better field than today here is impossible and to be able to win, thatÂ´s just fantastic. IÂ´m also satisfied with the time because it was really, really cold. In Doha my ambition will be the same, make it to the final first and then get a medal”.
The reference to Doha is significant as Williams was not sure of her place in Doha before winning. [In the Jamaican trials she was called for a false-start, disputed it, asked to run under protest, was denied and then extraordinarily the authorities decided not to run the final but to select on semi-final times excluding Williams!]
Williams told me after the race that her plan had always been to take the matter out of the Jamaican authorities’ hands by winning the Diamond League final. With wins in Doha, Birmingham, Brussels and London as well as a second place finish in Monaco, no one could question her right to be seen as the Number I sprint-hurdler on the planet at the moment.
At the 2019 London Anniversary Games there was a prelim and a final. Williams ran a PR in each, 12:32 in the final. Tongue in cheek, I suggested to her that two PRs in an hour was a bit ridiculous! Her reply put your correspondent in his place: “I don’t think it was ridiculous because if I take you back to 2015 in the world championship I did two PRS in 2 hours in the semi-final and final. So I have done before and it’s something we train for. Yesterday was magnificent. I cannot describe it any other way. But it wasn’t a surprise because we practice and train for this. It didn’t happen overnight. This is the culmination of five years of work. From 2013 and 2014 we’ve been taking apart the race. We have fixed different aspects of the race and this is the result of all that, 12.32. But it was not a completely clean race and I think I could have done some things better. That’s how I always view a race. I am happy with that but I always make mistakes and think that if I could fix those and go faster”.
The prospect of Danielle Williams fixing her poor technique and eliminating all those mistakes in order to run a fast time – as opposed to a disappointing 12.32 – is mind-boggling.