Sprint sensation strikes again as Usain Bolt finishing school beckons
Schoolboy Williams takes No 1 spot in world 200m rankings... and has a British passport
Sunday 17 March 2013
The noise in Jamaica's National Stadium reaches an ear-splitting crescendo as Delano Williams storms across the finish line, baton pointing to the track-side clock, and collapses in a heap. The 19-year-old speed merchant from the Turks and Caicos Islands didn't get to savour Super Saturday in the pressure dome of London's Olympic Stadium last summer – virtually unnoticed he tried and failed to make the British team – but he has wrung every last drop out of the equally uplifting, infectiously raucous, Jamaican equivalent.
That much is clear as the medics rush to the aid of the Caribbean whizzkid who has dominated the 103rd edition of the Inter Secondary Schools' Sports Association Boys' and Girls' Championships as much as one Usain Bolt of William Knibb Memorial School did the 93rd.
For five days now, the national television station has been giving blanket live coverage from the arena where Bob Marley staged his celebrated peace concert in 1980 and, like the young Lightning Bolt 10 years ago, Williams has been the star of the "Champs" show.
On the penultimate day he won the Class One 100m, for 16 to 19-year-olds, in 10.28sec, missing the championship record by 0.07sec. Not just any record, but one set in 2007 by the emerging young Beast, Yohan Blake of St Jago School.
On this, the final day of competition on Saturday – with 35,000 kids, parents and former pupils packed into the stadium, all clad in their school colours and screaming, blowing horns or banging thundersticks or drums – Williams has already won the Class One 200m and brought Munro College from last to second with a storming anchor leg in the 4x100m relay. And now, in the ultimate event of Champs 2013, he has just run a split of 44sec to win the 4x400m relay for Munro in 3min 09.21sec.
It is the 30th championship record of a meeting that has clearly been boosted by the Jamaican legacy of London 2012, where a staggering 20 track and field medals were won by former graduates of the Champs Academy. The most significant figure, however, has been 20.27 – the time frozen on the trackside clock when Williams won the 200m.
The teenager from Grand Turk, who moved to Jamaica in 2008 because Hurricane Ike flattened his old school, and who has UK citizenship and a UK passport because Turks and Caicos is a British Overseas territory, failed in his mission to crack the championship record in that event. But, then, it was a stunning mark of 20.25sec, which marked Bolt's emergence 10 years ago, and he came within a 0.02sec whisker of it. "You always think that a part of you could have gone faster but I did my best," Williams says, after the medics and physios have done their work on him and got him back on his feet. "It's my personal best, 20.27sec, and that's a great time.
"I have defended both of my individual titles here and I am happy with that. My hamstring has been gripping me when I have been running here, so I know I can go faster still."
As he returns to his sixth form studies today at Munro College, which stands overlooking the Caribbean on Santa Cruz Mountain, Williams can reflect on being on top of the world. The schoolboy's winning 200m time has knocked Australian Joshua Ross's 20.65sec off the No 1 spot in the world senior rankings for 2013.
Like Williams's 100m time, his 200m clocking is also a Turks and Caicos national record. No British sprinter has gone faster since 2008, when Christian Malcolm ran 20.25sec. And only seven British runners – among them Olympic gold medal winners Linford Christie, Allan Wells, Darren Campbell and Marlon Devonish – have ever run quicker. In the long term, the chances are that Williams will be following in their footsteps as a British Olympian. He ran in the GB trials in Birmingham in June last year (suffering a groin injury and finishing seventh in the 200m final in 20.91sec) because he cannot represent his home land at Olympic level. Turks and Caicos does not have a National Olympic Committee.
That is good news for Britain, who can expect to see the present world junior 200m champion running alongside the home-grown world junior 100m champion Adam Gemili in a red, white and blue vest at the Rio Games. Asked whether he would be back for the next British Olympic trials, Williams replied: "Yeah, I'll definitely be running for Britain in 2016."
In the meantime, he will probably still run for Turks and Caicos in other international events, such as the World Championships in Moscow in August. By then, more likely than not, he will have moved on to the ultimate finishing school, joining Bolt and Blake at the Racers Track Club in Kingston.
Fastest Britons: 200m records
19.87 John Regis
20.09 Linford Christie
20.13 Darren Campbell
20.18 Julian Golding
20.19 Marlon Devonish
20.21 Allan Wells
20.27 Delano Williams
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