Wednesday 28 October, 2020

JAAA says Danielle Williams eligible for World Championships selection

Danielle Williams.

Danielle Williams.

The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) has ruled that sprint hurdler Danielle Williams has been deemed eligible for selection to the Jamaica team to the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Doha, Qatar from September 28 to October 6.

The decision came well over a month after the JAAA had issued a press release stating that Williams was ineligible for selection. That release further stated that the three athletes who would represent the country in the women's 100m hurdles at the  IAAF World Championships would be selected based on the IAAF ranking as of August 16, 2019.

The JAAA had made that decision after the event was cancelled on the final day of the four-day Jamaican trials in June.

Williams was disqualified from the event at the trials for a false start and the decision did not go down well with the 2015 World champion who refused to leave the track, resulting in a lengthy delay.

The 26-year-old Williams was shown the red card on three separate occasions but remained adamant that she did nothing wrong. She eventually left the field after a conversation with Garth Gayle, general secretary of the JAAA.

When the race was sent off for a second time, there was further confusion, as the starter had to recall the athletes. However, more than three hurdlers covered at least six flights of barriers, while an unaware University of Arkansas student Janeek Brown, who had smashed the national women's 100m hurdles record on June 8 in Texas, finished the race.

The organisers then decided to push back the race, 45 minutes after the men’s event, but the event was cancelled after three athletes reported they were injured in that aftermath.

In a statement on Wednesday, the JAAA announced that following international expert advice and a review of the selection policy, the fairest way to proceed is to make its selection decision based on the multiple criteria listed in published policy, although the specific case is not covered.

The JAAA release further stated that said the sprint hurdles race at the National Championship, had been ruled null and void and Williams’ disqualification could, therefore, not stand given that the race was never completed and has been declared null and void

The JAAA said it will now make the relevant selection on September 6, 2019, which is the closing date for the entries to the World Championships.

The JAAA said its main consideration was fairness to all athletes and compliance with the JAAA and IAAF rules.

Following the incident at the National trials, Williams has been sending strong statements on the track with good performances.  Noted among her good performances was a sensational 12.32 seconds at the Muller Anniversary Games in London Stadium on July 20, a national record and world-leading time.

Arriving in the British capital with a 12.48 lifetime best, Williams dispensed with that in the heats 55 minutes earlier where she clocked 12.41 after coasting through the finish. Her winning time in the final elevated Williams to No. 7 on the all-time list while supplanting Janeek Brown as Jamaican record holder.

The top three 100m hurdles in line to represent Jamaica at the World Championships are Williams, ranked at No. 1 in the world with 1385 points, Megan Tapper, ranked at No. 15 in the world, with 1263 points and Brown, ranked at No. 17, with 1257 points.



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