World Champs Women’s 100H — Unforeseen Blast From Past

After winning in ’15 and scoring bronze in ’19, Danielle Williams jumped for joy over her result here. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

FORMER WORLD CHAMPIONS don’t come in with much longer odds than Danielle Williams carried into the 100H.

The 30-year-old Jamaican had had her moment at the top of the podium 8 years ago in Beijing and not much coming into Budapest suggested she’d be the fourth woman ever to win multiple short hurdles world titles.

Williams arrived in Hungary slotted at No. 13 on the yearly list, then finished 3rd in her heat in the first round and again in the semis to earn the inside lane for the finals.

She was No. 8 on our formchart — her 12.50 season’s best in her semi earned a “small q” into the final — and in a loaded field that included the last three major champions (Nia Ali, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and Tobi Amusan) and the last two WR-setters (Keni Harrison and current WR holder Amusan) even that assessment seemed like a nod to Williams’ pedigree as a former winner.

Then the gun for the final went off and Williams looked like a woman who knew she would win. After never leading in the first two rounds, she set the pace from the first hurdle to the last then outleaned a hard-closing Camacho-Quinn 12.43–12.44 for her first world title since she was a 22-year-old vying to be the future of the event.

The future arrived 8 years later. American Harrison, a close 2nd to Williams for almost the entire race, finished 3rd in 12.46.

“I still don’t believe I won against such a stellar field,” said Williams, summing up the general consensus. “I’ve been racing these ladies all year and they have been kicking me left, right and center. But I had such confidence in my training and my abilities that I never stopped believing.”

In retrospect, Williams won the race in the opening steps when she shot out of the blocks and Olympic champ Camacho-Quinn got out unaccountably slow. By the third hurdle Camacho-Quinn was in the back of the pack and Williams was opening up a slight lead over her nearest chaser, Harrison, who had been brilliant in both the heats and semis.

Williams never really separated from Harrison — nor did Harrison inch toward Williams until the final two barriers and ultimately couldn’t bridge the final inches of the gap. Coming from much further back, Camacho-Quinn had the best finish but ran out of room at the line. Even then the cameras focused on Camacho-Quinn as the athletes awaited the results on the scoreboard.

Defending champ Amusan, OKed to run a few days before the meet when she was cleared of a whereabouts charge, was never a factor and finished 6th.

Said Williams, “My starts have always been good. The finish is usually my problem but I spoke to my sister yesterday and she said I need to make sure to race over all the hurdles because I wasn’t going flat out through all of them. Today I was determined to take it all the way.”

She made it all the way to the top of the podium — all the way back to the top of the podium.

“When I won in 2015 it was unbelievable,” Williams said. “But this took a lot of hard work, a lot of years of toil and injuries, and losing my confidence and battling to get back to this stage. It’s awesome, Jamaica is a proud country and we love to win.

“I love to win.”


FINAL (August 24; wind –0.2)

1. Danielle Williams (Jam) 12.43;

2. Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (PR) 12.44;

3. Keni Harrison (US) 12.46;

4. Devynne Charlton (Bah) 12.52;

5. Ackera Nugent (Jam) 12.61;

6. Tobi Amusan (Ngr) 12.62;

7. Ditaji Kambundji (Swi) 12.70;

8. Nia Ali (US) 12.78.

(lanes: 2. Williams; 3. Ali; 4. Harrison; 5. Amusan; 6. Charlton; 7. Camacho-Quinn; 8. Nugent; 9. Kambundji)

(reaction times: 0.132 Williams, 0.135 Nugent, 0.140 Kambundji, 0.149 Charlton, 0.152 Amusan, 0.155 Harrison, 0.159 Ali, 0.164 Camacho-Quinn)

HEATS (August 22)

I(0.1)–1. Nugent 12.60; 2. Masai Russell (US) 12.60; 3. Sarah Lavin (Ire) 12.69; 4. Cyrena Samba-Mayela (Fra) 12.71; 5. Mette Graversgaard (Den) 12.87; 6. Michelle Harrison (Can) 12.88; 7. Gréta Kerekes (Hun) 13.09; 8. Masumi Aoki (Jpn) 13.26.

II(0.1)–1. Ali 12.55; 2. Pia Skrzyszowska (Pol) 12.65; 3. tie, Marione Fourie (SA) & Luca Kozák (Hun) 12.71; 5. Lotta Harala (Fin) 13.11; 6. Asuka Terada (Jpn) 13.15; 7. Sidonie Fiadanantsoa (Mol) 13.18; 8. Viktória Forster (Svk) 13.47; 9. Caroline Tomaz (Bra) 13.59.

III(0.1)–1. Harrison 12.24 (WL, AL) (x, =4 W; x, =2 A) (fastest-ever first round of 3);

2. Charlton 12.44 NR; 3. Williams 12.51; 4. Cindy Sember (GB) 12.83; 5. Reetta Hurske (Fin) 12.92; 6. Anna Tóth (Hun) 12.95; 7. Taylon Bieldt (SA) 13.05; 8. Hannah Jones (Aus) 13.05; 9. Dina Aulia (Ina) 13.54.

IV(0.0)–1. Camacho-Quinn 12.50; 2. Nadine Visser (Neth) 12.68; 3. Kambundji 12.71; 4. Celeste Mucci (Aus) 12.90; 5. Laeticia Bapte (Fra) 12.93; 6. Mariam Abdul-Rashid (Can) 13.04; 7. Jyothi Yarraji (Ind) 13.05; 8. Klaudia Siciarz (Pol) 13.25; 9. Naomi Akakpo (Tog) 13.96.

V(0.4)–1. Amusan 12.48; 2. Megan Tapper (Jam) 12.51; 3. Michelle Jenneke (Aus) 12.71; 4. Natalia Christofi (Cyp) 12.90; 5. Maayke Tjin A-Lim (Neth) 12.92; 6. Ebony Morrison (Lbr) 12.93; 7. Yumi Tanaka (Jpn) 13.12; 8. Nika Glojnarič (Slo) 13.13.

SEMIS (August 23)

I(0.5)–1. Harrison 12.33 (x, =9 A);

2. Charlton 12.49; 3. Kambundji 12.50; 4. Tapper 12.55; 5. Lavin 12.62 NR; 6. Sember 12.97; 7. A-Lim 13.05; 8. Christofi 13.15.

II(-0.7)–1. Amusan 12.56; 2. Nugent 12.60; 3. Visser 12.62; 4. Kozák 12.73; 5. Samba-Mayela 12.95; 6. Mucci 12.97; 7. Hurske 13.05;… dnf—Russell.

III(-0.4)–1. Camacho-Quinn 12.41; 2. Ali 12.49; 3. Williams 12.50; 4. Skrzyszowska 12.71; 5. Jenneke 12.80; 6. Fourie 12.89; 7. Graversgaard 12.94; 8. Harrison 13.05.