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London 2017 | Danielle's disaster

Published:Friday | August 11, 2017 | 12:00 AMAndre Lowe
Danielle Williams at the end of her 100 metres hurdles semi-final at the IAAF World Championships yesterday. She failed to advance to the final after placing fifth in 13.14 seconds.

LONDON, England:

Defending 100 metres hurdles champion Danielle Williams struggled to find the words as she came to grips with what had happened a few minutes earlier.

The defending champion struck the first hurdle, and couldn't avoid at least four others before eventually finishing fifth in 13.14 seconds. Her win two years ago was a massive surprise and her failure to advance was another shocker and heartbreak for the sprinter hurdler, who missed the Rio Olympics last year after a crash at the National Trials.

Though clearly devastated, the pre-championships medal contender is backing herself to again bounce back from her latest setback, while denying that she was overconfident heading into the contest after what was her most impressive build-up.

"I really don't know what to say. What happened, Danielle?"

Her question to herself no doubt echoed across the athletics world following a season that saw her enter the championships as the fifth-fastest lady in the event.

"It's tough. This is really tough. I had a very good session going out on the track. I was feeling confident I could finish in the top two and get to the final, but it's a race and that's why we run the races. Two years ago, I had a surprise victory, and today (yesterday), I crashed out of the semis, so I have to just roll with the punches," Williams told The Gleaner.




Also missing out on a spot in the final were Megan Simmonds, who was fourth in her semi-final in 12.93, as well as Rushelle Burton (12.94), who finished fifth in her semi-final.

Yanique Thompson was third in her semi-final in a time of 12.88 seconds, essentially missing out on a spot in the medal race by .02 of a second with Kendra Harrison, the world-record holder taking the final qualifying spot with a 12.86 third-place run in her semi-final.

It means that for only the fourth time in World Championships history, no Jamaican will have a lane in the 100m hurdles final.

"I wasn't too confident; I couldn't be," Williams continued. "I knew it was the semis, and you have to get out and run hard in the semis. It's the hardest round. I was ready to go and finish in the top two. I saw myself in the top two. Only thing in my mind was to go out and execute."

Struggles also for ambitious steeplechaser Aisha Praught-Leer, who ran injured in the 3000m steeplechase final, but was disqualified for stepping off the track after crossing the line down the field.

The event was won by her training partner Emma Coburn (USA) in a championships record 9:02.58. Another American, Courtney Frerichs, was second in 9:03.77 with Kenyan Hyvin Jepkemoi, 9:04.03, taking the bronze medal.

"I worked so hard for this. I just had to come out here. I gave up too much to be here," said Praught-Leer in explaining her decision to line up at the start despite hurting her leg during the preliminaries.

No Jamaican was able to make an impact in women's discus qualifying with Shadae Lawrence, 59.25m (15th); Kellion Knibb, 56.73m (23rd) and Tarasue Barnett - who fouled on all three attempts - all struggling.

The men's and women's 4x100m relays heats and finals will highlight today's penultimate day of action, with the 4x400m heats also on the schedule.

Kemoy Campbell will also line up in the men's 5000m final at 8:20 p.m. (2:20 p.m.).