Teenage sprint star Jodie Williams - a big hit in Sheffield in February - today made a solid start to her senior international debut by reaching the semi-finals of the 60 metres at the European Indoor Championships in Paris.
Williams advanced after finishing third in her heat in 7.31 seconds behind France’s Myriam Soumare - who won three medals in the outdoor championships in Barcelona last year - and Ukrainian Hrystyna Stuy.
The 17-year-old, who has been given a week off school to compete at the Palais Omnisports de Bercy, is a former world youth champion at both 100 and 200 metres and won the 100m at the world juniors in Canada last summer, her defeat in the 200m final coming after an amazing 151 successive victories.
She sealed her place on the team by winning the trials at the EIS in Attercliffe last month - in the seventh fastest time in Europe this year - and has targeted a place in the final here, admitting that “anything can happen” from there.
Team-mate Bernice Wilson also qualified for this afternoon’s semi-final by finishing second in the final heat in 7.30secs.
In the men’s 60m, defending champion Dwain Chambers and Joel Fearon advanced to the semi-finals, but Harry Aikines-Aryeetey crashed out.
Aikines-Aryeetey was selected for the team despite suffering a hamstring injury at the end of February and, after finishing just sixth in his heat, the 22-year-old admitted he was “just too scared” about a recurrence of the problem to run effectively.
Chambers did just enough after a poor start to qualify third in his heat in 6.71s, while Fearon was second in a blanket finish in his heat in 6.70s.
France’s Christophe Lemaitre, who completed an unprecedented sprint treble in Barcelona last year, was the fastest qualifier overall in 6.59.
Full round up in Monday’s Star.