Sun | Apr 5, 2020

‘In the best interest of country’ - D-Day draws near as JAAA remain coy on WIlliams’ World Champs selection

Published:Thursday | August 15, 2019 | 12:25 AMRaymond Graham/Gleaner Writer
Danielle Williams

The public should know tomorrow , which three athletes will represent the country in the women’s 100 metres hurdles at next month’s IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, with a decision set to arrive from a high-level Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) meeting, which was scheduled for last night.

One senior member of the JAAA executive, told The Gleaner yesterday that the decision would be made in the best interest of the country while remaining coy when asked about the chances of 2015 world champion Danielle Williams being selected.

“The executive of the association will be meeting tonight (yesterday) to discuss the whole scenario and make the decision, so the public will know the result on August 16,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

The women’s 100m hurdles event was not concluded at the National Senior Championships in June, following the disqualification of fan favourite Williams, who then failed to comply with officials by refusing to leave the track after she was penalised for false starting. After a long delay, an attempt was made to restart the event with the remaining seven athletes, but this also did not go well, as several of the competitors did not hear the gun and the race was called back, which resulted in the officials calling again for a rerun.

Problematic

However, this also proved problematic, as a few of the athletes complained of being injured and so the event was called off. The JAAA executive subsequently announced that the selection of the island’s three reps for the event in Doha would be based on the IAAF Ranking as of August 16, 2019.

“The three of the seven competitors with the highest ranking in the event at that time will, therefore, be selected to represent Jamaica,” read a JAAA release, which deemed the event null and void and also excluded Williams due to her disqualification.

Following that incident, there have been many calls supporting Williams’ selection. The hurdler herself has come out swinging, sending a strong statement on the track, with an impressive showing at the Muller Anniversary Games in London, where she raced to an impressive 12.32 seconds clocking to win the event, improving on her 12.41 seconds in the preliminary round after arriving at the meet with a previous best of 12.48 seconds. Her winning time was a world-leading time and national record in the event

When asked if Williams had forced her way into the picture following her outstanding performances since the National Championships, the official replied: “We have had representation from elsewhere, and this will also be among the discussion and in the best interest of the country, the right decision will be made.”

The athlete could also increase her chances by winning the event in the Diamond Race and triggering a wild card entry for Worlds.

Williams will once again be on show this Sunday, at the Muller Grand Prix in Birmingham, in a star-studded field as she will come up against world record holder, the unbeaten Kendra Harrison of the United States, who has a season best of 12.43 seconds.

It could also almost be seen as a rerun of the National Championships as World number two , Janeek Brown, with a best of 12.40 and other Jamaicans –Megan Tapper, Yanique Thompson, and Jeanine Williams will also be in action.