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'I've got to run my own race'

Published:Wednesday | June 17, 2015 | 12:00 AMDania Bogle
Novlene Williams-Mills

FORMER national 400 metres champion Novlene Williams-Mills has said she still struggles to believe in herself, and that is a challenge she will need to overcome if she is to win an individual medal at future World Championships or Olympic Games.

The 33-year-old won her last individual medal - a bronze - at the IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan, in 2007. She has since claimed bronze as part of Jamaica's 4x400m relay team at the 2012 London Olympics.

However, speaking in the latest edition of the IAAF's programme, Inside Athletics, Williams-Mills said she still has work to do to make it back to the podium on her own.

"I think I have to learn still to believe in myself. Be like, 'I have run with all these girls before and beaten them all at one point' and going back to that race in the final, run my own race, concentrate on my own lane, and I think that's going to be the big factor for me ... block out everything else," she said.

The Florida-based athlete battled breast cancer in 2012, months before the Olympics, and said the weeks after, when many Jamaicans, who have such high expectations for their athletes, did not know she was ill, it was difficult.

"Sometimes it can be a lot of pressure. It wasn't going the way I wanted to go, and nobody knew about that (cancer), so I was just being criticised, and that was hard. I guess when they have so much love for you, they always want you to do good; it's hard."




Williams-Mills knows it will be no walk in the park to make the national team to this year's World Championships in Beijing, China. The national championships are next week.

"If it's an Olympic team or World Championships team, so you always have a dog fight to be in the top three," she said.

Williams-Mills credits now-deceased college coach, Tom Jones, with helping her gain confidence as a young athlete. She now works with Gary Evans, and said trusting him is what will help her do what is needed.

"It's all about trusting your coach. I think I've learned to trust him (Evans), especially with what I've been through, and I can trust what he can do, and that he can get me back there."