Novlene hunts another Shanghai special
Veteran Jamaican quarter-miler Novlene Williams-Mills holds a special bond with the Chinese city of Shanghai.
It was here that she ran her best ever time 49.63 in 2006 and also the site of the race that led to a season that delivered the Diamond Race title in 2014.
Williams-Mills, who is looking to qualify for her fourth Olympic Games this Summer in Rio de Janeiro, is one of four Jamaicans lined up in the one-lap event with World Championships bronze-medal winner Shericka Jackson, Stephenie-Ann McPherson and Christine Day joining her in what should be a keen battle with Bahamian World champs silver medallist Shaunae Miller.
The Jamaican spoke of her love for Shanghai, and though she does not remember too much about that race 10 years ago, she is hoping the Shanghai Stadium track will bring her fresh memories as she lays the blocks to her latest campaign.
"Thing have been good so far, its going to be my second 400m, so I'm trying to get ready, trying to execute the race as usual. I love competing in Shanghai, so hopefully, I'll have a good race here again," Williams-Mills told The Gleaner yesterday.
"That race where I did my personal best was so long ago, I believe it was towards the end of the season. I remember there was no real pressure coming in and I think most people were just having fun," she reminisced. "In 2014, winning that race it was a very close one and I went on to have a very good season, and I want to kick it off again and go on to have another great season in 2016."
That year, Williams-Mills went on to win seven of her remaining 12 races. She started this season with a 50.87 second-place run at the Jamaica International Invitational.
"It was pretty OK. I think there are a lot of stuff I could have done differently in that race, but I can't complain. Last season wasn't the best season and I felt opening up with 50.8 was decent. It's good to show that my training is going well, so it's just about preparation, taking care of my body and ensuring I'm healthy at this point," she added.
Williams-Mills has been competing at the senior international level since 2003 and has represented Jamaica at three Olympic Games (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012) and six World Championships Helsinki 2005, Osaka 2007, Berlin 2009, Daegu 2011, Moscow 2013 and Beijing 2015.