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Page last updated at 09:44 GMT, Thursday, 23 July 2009 10:44 UK

Williamson gunning for big stage

Venue: Crystal Palace, London Dates: 24-25 July
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV and BBC Sport website (UK only)
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Simeon Williamson

Highlights - Williamson races to 100m title

By Mark Ashenden

Rising sprint star Simeon Williamson is ready to make his mark on the global stage, according to his coach.

The Briton, 23, crushed Dwain Chambers in the UK trials and faces Usain Bolt in Friday's London Grand Prix before heading to the World Championships.

"Everyone is running under 10 seconds and they will be at the Worlds but Simeon's doing well," said Lloyd Cowan, who also trains Christine Ohuruogu.

"His run at the trials said 'I'm ready' and I expect great things."

Williamson, whose second cousin is Britain's Olympic silver medallist high jumper Germaine Mason, shocked Chambers in Birmingham nearly two weeks ago to become Britain's new sprint champion in 10.05s - 0.02s outside his personal best.

Although Bolt ran 9.79 last week in wet Paris with Williamson in sixth and with Tyson Gay clocking the year's fastest time of 9.77 in Rome, the Londoner's performance in a blustery headwind at the Alexander Stadium showed great promise.

"The manner it was put down made it awesome," Cowan told BBC Sport. "It was a good clinical job, he put a statement down and there is more to come. We don't talk about Bolt and the others. They are good athletes but they are freaks!

"We can only control what we do."

Cowan, who guided Ohuruogu to her 400m Olympic crown last year, was unimpressed with Williamson when he took him onboard at his north London stable four years ago.

After a junior sprint double indoors and outdoors over 60m and 100m in 2005 and a European Athletics Under-23 title in 2007, the Londoner seems Britain's best sprinting hope at the Worlds in Berlin next month, particularly having spent the winter training in Jamaica with former world record holder Asafa Powell.

Simeon Williamson

Highlights - Williamson races to 100m title (UK users only)

"Simeon's speed is good and if he can put it together I think you could see some good things," Cowan added about his star pupil who missed out on the Osaka World Championships two years ago with a chest infection.

"There are things to tidy up but every year there's been an improvement. He's moving in the right direction. There are guys beating us but they can't get quicker and we can get better.

"If not this year, then next year and 2012 is the plan. I see some good things at the London Olympics. We don't know who else will be there but we could have a new man. It could be Simmo! I don't have a crystal ball but I think he'll be a serious contender by then."

Former sprinting star Jason Gardener, 2004 world indoor champion and part of GB's Olympic gold medal-winning 4x100m squad in Athens, believes Williamson is a huge prospect, having bounced back after only reaching the quarter-finals at the Beijing Games.

"Right now Simeon is the man of British sprinting and he's a very exciting athlete to watch," 33-year-old Gardener told BBC Sport.

"He's got the whole package and is electric. He's a fast starter, has a good drive phrase and a great finish. His performance in Birmingham showed he's got the temperament to handle pressure and deliver when it matters but he has to build on this success."

My start needs to improve - Bolt

Gardener, who joined Chambers and Linford Christie in 1999 on the list of Britons to beat the 10-second barrier, thinks it is not a matter of "if but when" Williamson will join the "unique special club".

"His curve is on the up," Gardener added. "He has proved he can start chipping away and get on the heels of Bolt and the others and really challenge them.

"But his times are a million miles away from Bolt's world record 9.69 at the Olympics. And let's not forget Usain has the capacity to run faster.


"Other athletes can't just think what the current world record is. The sport has moved on. If they are serious then sub-10 must not be a barrier, just a process that they will break. They need to beat 9.99 to be globally competitive.

"It's great getting excited about Simeon but let's allow him to continue doing what he's doing without putting the pressure on him that he's going to medal at the Worlds.

"There are a lot of guys out there considerably faster but overall, it is looking bright for British sprinting and what he's doing will hopefully drag a few others along with him as well."

see also
Powell insists Bolt is beatable
23 Jul 09 |  Athletics
Williamson storms to 100m crown
11 Jul 09 |  Athletics
Bolt to take on Powell in London
15 Jul 09 |  Athletics
Bolt cruises to emphatic 100m win
17 Jul 09 |  Athletics
Dibaba is late entry to London GP
19 Jul 09 |  Athletics
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics

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