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Williams makes good after years of near misses and heartache

Angela Williams in the 60m at the IAAF World Indoor Championships (Getty Images)Angela Williams in the 60m at the IAAF World Indoor Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright

It only took just over seven seconds but the women's 60m final had enough drama encapsulated in the race for a Hollywood blockbuster.

The opening scene witnessed disaster for one of the major gold medal contenders after she stumbled badly at the start.

Two medallists set new national records and only three-hundredths of a second separated the first three but the greatest story line was preserved for the winner Angela Williams, who finally struck gold after years of near misses and athletics heartache.

The eight-strong field got away at the first time of asking at a packed Velodromo Luis Puig but the race was over for the fastest qualifier, Nigeria’s 22-year-old Ene Franca Idoko who heartbreakingly stumbled out of the blocks and out of contention.

Williams started modestly and for much of the race it was Taheisa Harrigan of the British Virgin Islands and Great Britain’s Jeanette Kwakye, who looked like they were in a private battle for gold.

Yet Williams maintained her composure and in the latter stages stepped on the power to time her victory bid to perfection. The 28-year-old American stopped the clock in 7.06 for a world lead time to snatch victory from Kwakye, who sliced 0.05 from the national record with a 7.08 run. Harrigan was a further 0.01 back in another national record of 7.09.

The rest of the pack finished well back with an out-of-sorts Kim Gevaert of Belgium fourth in 7.22. For the hapless Idoko she had to settle for seventh in 7.30 one place and 0.04 slower than her Nigerian team-mate Oludamola Osayomi.

For Williams it was rich reward for a career which has been punctured by several near misses.

At the 2001 World Indoor Championships in Lisbon she had to play second fiddle by 0.04 to Chandra Sturrup of the Bahamas and two years later at the Birmingham edition of the championships she finished a distant second to Zhanna Block of the Ukraine.

Williams was even bedevilled by bad luck. Over the last few seasons she has been plagued by injury problems, suffering two shin fractures.

But tonight in Spain all that was forgotten as Williams finally became champion.

Steve Landells for the IAAF

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