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Williams Lines Up Palace

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Jodie Williams

 

03 August 2011

World Junior champion Jodie Williams is hoping to build on her double European Under 23 Championships triumph when she makes her debut at the Aviva London Grand Prix this Friday.

The 17-year-old was star of the show in Tallinn last month where she added European Under 23 100m and 200m gold to the 100m World Junior title she won in Moncton last year.

These were not the first titles in the trophy cabinet for the Welwyn Garden City schoolgirl, who soared to success back in 2009, winning the World Under 18 title in both the 100m and 200m in Brixen, Italy.

And fresh from the success in Estonia, Williams admits she is now chomping at the bit to line up in the 200m which features fellow former age-group World champions, Bianca Knight and Shalonda Solomon.

She said: “Running at the Aviva London Grand Prix will be great for me, I know the field will be really strong and that kind of company will only push me to do better and run faster. This will be my first time competing in the meet and I’m really hoping that I can run well on Friday and keep feeling good about my times – it will be fantastic and I can’t wait.

“I’m feeling really good on track at the moment, I want to keep on racing as much as I can to ensure that I keep on improving and finish 2011 on a high. I didn’t think going into Tallinn that I’d been performing to my potential so after racing well there, it’s given me the confidence boost I needed to compete in a Diamond League meet.”

Williams shot to fame last year when she turned on a succession of outstandingly fast times, which saw her elevated to one of the most promising track and field stars on the planet.

She followed this early in 2011 with her first senior title of her career at the Aviva UK Indoor Trials and Championships, before placing a most encouraging fourth in her first ever senior championships at the European Indoor Championships in Paris.

But having made the transition from promising junior to senior medal hopeful, Williams is not quickly going to forget about her age-group development and insists the process was vital in making her the athlete she is fast becoming.

She added: “I was so pleased with my performance in Tallinn, I wasn’t really expecting such a good 100m time so was over the moon when I saw it. I am expected to do well at junior meets and obviously this added pressure had a good effect on me.”

While Williams takes to the track on Friday, spectators at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre on Saturday will witness the return of the much-loved Aviva Legends Relay, in which four of Britain’s finest Olympians will each lead a team of the next generation of athletics stars in a 4x100m relay.

Jason Gardener, John Regis, Kath Merry and Liz McColgan have all dusted off their spikes to lead the teams in the contest, with the aim of raising awareness for Railway Children, a foundation that supports the estimated 100,000 children who run away from home or care every year.

Fighting talk and banter between the teams has already started with Team Gardener Captain, Jason Gardener saying: “Looking at the teams, I think ours has the competitive edge as I’m the only team captain racing to have an Olympic Gold for the 4x100m relay. There aren’t many people who can boast that! I think the others might just buckle under the pressure.”

Team Merry Captain, Kath Merry responded, saying: “As a very competitive person, I jumped at the chance to compete in this year’s Aviva Legends Relay. The other teams better beware – Team Merry will definitely be going for the victory and there is a no way we’re coming anywhere but first.”  

Heather Smith, Head of Sponsorship for Aviva said: “The Aviva Legends Relay has always been a real highlight at the Aviva London Grand Prix. It’s fantastic to see these familiar faces back on the track, and to see the girls take on the guys this year will be even more enjoyable.

“On a serious note, we are staging this event this year to help raise awareness of Railway Children, one of the key UK charities working directly to protect vulnerable young people in the UK.  At Aviva we believe that these children have a right to fulfil their potential, and together with Railway Children we aim to get them back to everyday life, school, or training programmes.”

Jodie Williams joins an all-star cast of British and international athletes set to head to the Aviva London Grand Prix. Mo Farah (3000m), Asafa Powell (100m), Mark Lewis-Francis (100m), Jenny Meadows (800m), David Rudisha (800m), Abubaker Kaki (800m), David Oliver (110m hurdles), Dayron Robles (110m hurdles), Andy Turner (110m hurdles) and Kim Collins (100m) will all be joining them in action at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre on Friday 5 August, while Christine Ohuruogu (400m), Sanya Richards-Ross (400m), Phillips Idowu (triple jump), Bernard Lagat (Mile) and Carmelita Jeter (100m) will take to the track on the sold-out Saturday for the final Aviva Series contest of 2011.

The Aviva London Grand Prix will be at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre on 5-6 August and shown live on BBC2 / BBC HD. For tickets or more information go to uka.org.uk/aviva-series or phone 08000 556 056. The Saturday session is now SOLD OUT; tickets for Friday night selling fast.