Danielle Williams celebrates her 100m hurdles win in Budapest (© Getty Images)
Despite being a former champion, it’s fair to say that Danielle Williams went into the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 a little under the radar.
In a field featuring the Olympic champion, an in-form former world record-holder, the defending champion and world record-holder, and other fellow global medallists – and with a single win to her name this season – the 30-year-old Jamaican had not been among the leading contenders.
As Williams put it herself, she had been racing those rivals all year, “and they have been kicking me left, right and centre”.
She fought back in the National Athletics Centre on Thursday night.
Eight years on from her 100m hurdles win in Beijing – where she clocked a then PB of 12.57 to triumph – Williams repeated the feat, holding off Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and USA’s Kendra Harrison to win in a season’s best of 12.43.
That’s the fifth-fastest time of her career, behind the 12.32 PB she set in London in 2019.
Camacho-Quinn, who won the Olympic title in Tokyo and claimed bronze in Oregon last year, lined up for the final with 12 wins to her name, including from the heats and semifinals in Budapest.
Harrison, the former world record-holder who claimed world silver in 2019 and Olympic silver in Tokyo, had finished in the top two in each of her 12 races this season, also including wins in the earlier rounds in Budapest. She clocked 12.24 – the fourth-fastest time in history – to win her heat.
Williams, meanwhile, finished third in her heat and third again in her semifinal, advancing to the final on time.
Taking to her blocks, she lined up in lane two, to the left of USA’s Nia Ali, the 2019 world champion who started at the World Championships as the world leader with 12.30. Williams got a great start, as did Bahamian Devynne Charlton, who claimed world indoor silver last year. But in her rush to the first barrier, Charlton knocked it, as did Ali.
Ali wasn’t able to recover and that gave Williams even more space on the far side. She ran her own race, narrowly holding off the chase from Camacho-Quinn in lane seven and Harrison in lane four. After crossing the finish line they faced a nervous wait while the winner was confirmed, and as Williams saw her name flash up first, she screamed and sprinted away in celebration.
Camacho-Quinn went one better than her Oregon bronze, securing silver in 12.44, while Harrison’s bronze medal-winning time was 12.46.
Charlton, who set a national record of 12.44 in the heats, recovered from clattering the first hurdle to finish fourth in 12.52, while Jamaica’s 21-year-old NCAA champion Ackera Nugent was fifth (12.61), Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan sixth (12.62), Switzerland’s Ditaji Kambundji seventh (12.70) and Ali eighth (12.78).
“I knew it was going to be tough. I came out here knowing that I could win, but I would have to give everything I had. I still don't believe I won against such a stellar field,” said Williams.
“My starts have always been good. The finish is usually my problem, but I spoke to my sister yesterday and she said I need to make sure to race over all the hurdles because I wasn't going flat out through all of them. Today, I was determined to take it all the way.
“When I won in 2015 it was unbelievable, but this took a lot of hard work, a lot of years of toil and injuries, and losing my confidence and battling to get back to this stage. It's awesome. Jamaica is a proud country and we love to win. I love to win.”
On day six of the championships, Williams’ gold was the first for Jamaica in Budapest and around 15 minutes later another arrived thanks to Antonio Watson’s 400m win.
Camacho-Quinn was satisfied with her silver. “I'm not upset at all,” she said. “After I won a bronze at the last World Championships, now I have a silver. If I add my Olympic gold medal, I have the whole collection to be proud of.”
Jess Whittington for World Athletics
|WOMEN'S 100m HURDLES MEDALLISTS|
|🥇||Danielle Williams 🇯🇲 JAM||12.43|
|🥈||Jasmine Camacho-Quinn 🇵🇷 PUR||12.44|
|🥉||Kendra Harrison 🇺🇸 USA||12.46|
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