Johnson C. Smith track and field alumna Danielle Williams won an unexpected world championship title Friday in the 100-meter hurdles with a personal best time of 12.57 seconds at the IAAF Track and Field World Championships here.
“It’s a hurdles race, anything can happen,” Williams said of the events that cuased defending champion and favorite Brianna Rollins to finish .01 seconds out of the medals in fourth and Sharika Nevis, who had the world-leading time of 12.34, to finish last.
Also, Dawn Harper-Nelson, who won Olympic gold at the same stadium (Bird’s Nest in Beijing), crashed over the second hurdle and Kendra Harrison was disqualified for a false start. American women had the five fastest times in the world this year, and had won half of the previous 14 world titles — only ever missing out on medals three previous times. “When I looked up and saw there was no Americans, I was trying to figure out what happened,” said Williams who runs for her home nation of Jamaica. “So I watched on the screen. I don’t know what happened in the race.”
Her sister, Shermaine Williams (also a JCSU alumna), finished behind her, and so was everybody else. “It’s a mixture of both surprise and joy,” Williams said. “Mostly surprise.” Williams had the eighth-fastest time in the world this year, but peaked at the right time. “I came into this championship expecting to run a personal best,” Williams said. “I did it in a semifinal, so I was hoping I could have the legs to come back in the finals since they were so close together.”