Williamson gets set for Bolt after leaving Chambers behind

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The Independent Online

It was the afternoon after the night before and, while Dwain Chambers was going back to the drawing board, Simeon Williamson was getting ready to pick up the British baton on the 'Project Bolt' front. Having bolted from Chambers' shadow with a stunner of a 100m victory at the Aviva World Trials and UK Championships here in Birmingham on Saturday, Williamson was looking ahead to his first encounter with the Jamaican phenomenon known as Lightning Bolt.

The tall, powerfully built young speed merchant from Enfield lines up against Usain Bolt, triple Olympic gold medallist and triple world record holder, in the Golden League meeting in the Stade de France in Paris on Friday night. "I'll run it like it's the Berlin final," Williamson said, referring to the looming World Championships, in which he will now be the leading British and European contender in the blue riband event. "What will be will be. If I come last and run a personal best I can't be disappointed."

Williamson would have undoubtedly eclipsed his lifetime best, 10.03sec, and broken the 10-second barrier on Saturday had there not been a 1.8 metres-per-second wind blowing in his face. His winning time, 10.05sec, equated to a 9.90sec time in windless conditions. Not that the self-effacing Londoner was prepared to consider it as such. "I don't look at the wind," he said. "The time's the facts. It says 10.05sec, not 9.90sec."

It was nonetheless a decisive breakthrough for the 23-year-old Highgate Harrier, who trains in the same north London stable as Olympic 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu, under the guidance of former international hurdler Lloyd Cowan. He powered clear from some 30m out, finishing 0.17sec ahead of Chambers, who withdrew from the 200m yesterday citing "exhaustion". It was Chambers' first 100m defeat of the season and his first loss to a fellow Briton since 2006.

"I want to get into the final in Berlin," Williamson said, "but I'll need to run sub 10 to do that. If it doesn't happen in Paris hopefully it will happen at Crystal Palace in front of a British crowd."

The new British and European number one is to due to face Bolt again in the Aviva London Grand Prix at the south London Palace on 24 and 25 July.

If he breaks 10 seconds there, without illegal wind assistance, he will be the first British sprinter to achieve the feat on home soil.