2018 Continental Games champion Danielle Williams considers her season a success.

It began with an injury but it was also one in which she ran a personal best, won a couple of silver medals and then, of course, capped it with the Continental title in Croatia earlier this month in her second fastest time ever.

“It was a great season. Anytime I can run a personal best, it’s a great season,” said the 2015 IAAF World 100m champion, who clocked a personal best 12.48s for a second-place finish behind Breanna McNeal at the Diamond League meeting in Stockholm on June 10.

“Every time I step on the track I want to run a PB. I am always aiming to go faster, so 12.48 was awesome. I did not expect it when it happened, so it was great for me, especially since in 2015 at the start of my professional career, I had set 12.49 as a target that I actually wanted to run because I felt like running 12.4s would definitely put me in competition with the best hurdlers in the world. So when I ran that I was extremely happy with that.”

During the off-season, Williams said she and her coach Lennox Graham worked on a few things to ensure that she would successfully rebound from the disappointments of the 2016 Olympic trials and in London a year later.

“The main thing that we worked on was the start of the race. That is what we wanted to improve because looking back at the tape for 2017, in the semi-finals of the World Championships; it was the start that was the issue. I was making some mistakes that stemmed from coming out of the blocks. It wasn’t consistent with my stride pattern so we wanted to fix that,” she said.

“That was why we were aiming for the World Indoors and running some indoor meets and trying to be competitive with the best hurdlers in the world over 60m because I hadn’t really run any indoors since I left college so we wanted to go indoors and work on the start and be competitive at the start of the race.

“I didn’t always get it right but when we did you could see we had the potential to go much faster.”

Danielle Williams
Danielle Williams
All that work preparing for the season was almost derailed because she was unable to set foot on an indoor track to start the season.

“The main targets that I had this year were going to the World Indoor Championships and making the Diamond League finals. Unfortunately, I got hurt in January and had to by-pass the indoor season so we then turned our focus to Commonwealth Games,” she said.

“I didn’t know what to expect going to the Commonwealth because I was just coming off an injury, I hadn’t done much hurdles, or anything fast.”

Not able to do any blocks or hurdles work, Williams went into the Commonwealth not knowing if she was going to be able to compete well.

“I really didn’t know what to expect so I went in and I finished second, which I was a little disappointed with,” she said. “But, when I looked at where I was coming from and not knowing if I would have been able to compete at the Commonwealth Games, it was a blessing. It really set up the entire season to think that if you had been injured since January, and you went in and were able to run 12.6 and then come again and run 12.7, then it would be limitless for what I could achieve this season.”

Williams ran 12.67s and won a silver medal at the NACAC Championships in Toronto in August behind world record holder Kendra Harrison.

“NACAC was just a race to prepare me for the Diamond League finals,” she said. “I didn’t find out about the Continental Cup (in Croatia) until NACAC so I had to reprogramme my mind because I had the end of the season for August 31 so when I found out that we had a week extra, the aim was just to focus and finish strong.”
That is exactly what she did. 12.49s, her second fastest time ever, to avenge her defeat to Harrison at the NACAC Championships. The American was second in 12.52s as the Americas got a 1-2 finish as they dethroned Europe as Continental champions.

Her target met, and US$50,000 richer, marked the perfect end to a season that at the start did not look as promising.

Source: Leighton Levy