Williamson bolts in ahead of Chambers
Fast-finisher gains revenge to grab 100m glory at world trials
Sunday 12 July 2009
The promised deluge failed to materialise when it came to the headlining race on day two of the Aviva World Trials and UK Championships here on the north side of Birmingham yesterday. There was to be no metaphorical damp squib either.
A year ago Simeon Williamson pushed Dwain Chambers (below) all the way to the line in the 100m final at the Olympic trials on the same track, clocking 10.03sec. Yesterday, the Highgate Harrier powered ahead of the erstwhile British and European No 1 from the opening 20m and finished a metre clear. It was a breakthrough the 23-year-old had been promising since his trials performance a year ago.
He would have had a sub 10-second time to match had there not been a wind of 1.8m per-second in his face. As Williamson crossed the line, the trackside clock momentarily stuck at 9sec before clicking to 10.06sec. It was worth 9.90sec in windless conditions, form that could be expected to put the reigning European Under-23 champion into medal contention at the World Championships in Berlin next month.
"It's just great to win my first national title, my first after being the bridesmaid so many times," Williamson said. "I'm happy with the run. I was hoping to go sub-10 seconds but now we can go back on the circuit with the big boys. We need to start running sub-10. You have to do that to make finals."
Chambers, having previously topped the British and European rankings for the year with 10.06sec, was a well-beaten runner-up. The reinstated doping offender clocked 10.20sec, with Newham's Tyrone Edgar third in 10.28sec.
Having talked all year of his "Project Bolt", it could be back to the drawing board for Chambers. He will need to complete "Project Williamson" before considering his long-term mission to gun down Usain Bolt.
To be fair to Chambers, he took his defeat with good grace. "The best man won on the day," he said, before honouring Williamson – who races against Bolt for the first time in Paris next Friday – with an "I'm not worthy" bow as they stood on the medal rostrum.
Kate Dennison continuing her pole vaulting ascent with a clearance of 4.57m. It was the third British record of the summer for the 25-year-old, earning her a $5,000 bonus in the process. She was just soaring clear of the bar as Christine Ohuruogu entered the home straight in the women's 400m final. There was no grandstand finish. The world and Olympic champion looked heavy-legged as the promising young 400m hurdles specialist Perri Shakes Drayton cut into her lead, claiming a personal best of 51.81sec as runner up.
Ohuruogu's winning time was 51.26sec. "I was hoping to run faster," she confessed, "but a win's a win." Sanya Richards having run 49.46sec in Rome the previous night, the 25-year-old Londoner clearly has work to do ahead of Berlin, although she has made a habit of peaking when it matters most of all.
Germaine Mason could hardly have timed his run of form much better last summer, soaring to a height of 2.34m to claim an unexpected high jump silver medal in Beijing. The former Jamaican team-mate of Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell, who switched allegiance to the land of his London-born father in 2006, has been obliged to endure some depressing lows since then, though. The knee surgery that cost him two months of his winter training was nothing compared to the life sentence given to his 16-year-old brother, Andre, in April for his part in an horrific gang murder.
"It's been a difficult year for my family and I," Mason said. "We're coping with it, taking everything step by step." Yesterday his form took a step forward. A first time clearance at 2.24m was a 3cm improvement on his previous best for the season and he came tantalisingly close with his final attempt at 2.31m, the Berlin qualifying standard. He also emerged victorious, claiming his first UK title ahead of Samson Oni and Tom Parsons, who also cleared 2.24m but not at the first time of asking.
Mason, who has adopted Birmingham as his second home, is not the only member of the Second City's Birchfield Harriers who has suffered from injury trouble of late. Hampered by a foot problem since February, Kelly Sotherton is racing against the clock to gain fitness and form in time for Berlin. The 2004 Olympic heptathlon bronze medallist was close to her personal best with 14.51m for eighth place in the shot. She also finished a disappointing fifth in the long jump, normally her best individual event, with a second round effort of 6.22m
The most unexpected result of the day came in the women's 1500m final. All eyes were on a confrontation between the Olympic finalist Stephanie Twell and the in-form Hannah England. After a pedestrian opening, Twell made a long-range strike form home, stealing a lead of some 20m. She managed to hold off England in the finishing straight but both women were eclipsed by the fast-finishing Charlene Thomas, who claimed victory in 4min 09.18sec and with it selection for Berlin.
Thomas left the track dancing in celebration. "I just wanted it so much," the 27-year-old Wakefield Harrier said.
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