Sun | Aug 20, 2017

London 2017 | No USA 100m hurdles sweep - Russell-Love

Published:Wednesday | August 9, 2017 | 8:00 AMHubert Lawrence
World and national 100m hurdles champion Danielle Williams, clearing a hurdle in training.

Gillian Russell-Love, the 1998 Commonwealth 100 metre hurdles champion, thinks Jamaica's Danielle Williams will prevent a US sweep in her event at the World Championships in London. Russell-Love's picks for the medals are world record holder Kendra Harrison, Williams and Australian star Sally Pearson. Now a TV pundit, the retired two-time Olympian reckons Williams has recovered from a difficult 2016 season.

The US has a fine quartet of 100 metres hurdlers in London, but when asked if they can repeat the 1-2-3 finish seen in the Olympic Games last year, Russell replied, "No they don't, they're not sweeping Danielle."

Harrison has a history of disappointing runs in big meets, including a non-qualifying 6th place in last year's US Olympic Trials. However, Russell thinks she will win in London.

"Harrison gets it done," she predicted, "but Danielle is right there behind her, and I think Pearson is third." Harrison false started at the 2015 World Championships and made an early mistake in the 2016 World Indoor Championships won by teammate and Olympic runner-up Nia Ali.

Williams is the reigning World Champion but missed the Olympics after a mid-race error at the 2016 National Senior Championships.

"That was a difficult lesson for her, but I think it was necessary in her development," said the 1997 World Indoor 60 metre hurdles silver medal winner, "so whereas now you saw the Trials where she was running with Megan (Simmonds), Rushelle (Burton) and all those young ladies, she hit hurdles again, but she didn't panic."

Williams overcame technical problems to set a new personal best of 12.56 seconds to win this year's Nationals and came close to that time at the Monaco Diamond League meet.

"She sorted it out," surmised Russell-Love in Kingston on August 5. "And now she has gone through to where you saw in Monaco, looking very good," she concluded. Harrison won the Monaco race in 12.51 seconds, well off her season's best of 12.28, with Williams third in 12.58 seconds.

Williams, 2016 Olympic semi-finalist Simmonds, 2013 World Youth Champion Yanique Thompson and last year's World Junior runner-up Rushelle Burton will contest the heats of the 100 metre hurdles when they begin on Friday.

Now at the University of Texas, Burton has had a long season on the US college circuit. Russell, however, feels that won't affect the former St Andrew High School and Camperdown High School standout.

"She has been through this already, through Champs and then again for the summer," Russell presented. Burton was in the 2013 World Youth final won by Thompson and extended her season last year to win the World Junior silver medal. With that in mind, Russell, the 1990 and 1992 World Junior Champion reasoned, "she's always been through this sort of path that our athletes have to go through where they have to do it twice."