14 JUL 2012 General News Barcelona

Williams the wanderer creates a bit of wonder at the World Juniors

Delano Williams of Turks and Caicos Islands celebrates after winning the Men's 200 metres Final on the day four of the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona 2012 (Getty Images)Delano Williams of Turks and Caicos Islands celebrates after winning the Men's 200 metres Final on the day four of the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
God Save The Queen rang out across the Montjuic Olympic Stadium on Saturday night for the third time at these World Junior Championships as Delano Williams stood to attention with the gold medal after his 200m win a little less than 24 hours previously.

Yes, you did read that right despite the fact that Great Britain has only had two winners so far in Barcelona and the initials alongside Williams' name on the results sheet reads TKS – Turks and Caicos Islands.

It may have been the Turks and Caicos islands' first medal of any description at the Championships but the local organisers didn't make a mistake and press 'play' on the wrong audio file. The islands are a British Overseas Territory and, despite having the US dollar as its local currency, have no national anthem of its own.

They also do not have a National Olympic Committee which means that Williams is intending to follow the path already trod by 2012 World Indoor Championships Long Jump bronze medallist Shara Proctor and represent Great Britain.

Proctor, it should be remembered, was born in nearby Anguilla and represented that country internationally for several years but had her Olympic Games ambitions thwarted by the fact that her country - which is also a British Overseas Territory - had a National Athletics Federation but no National Olympic Committee either.

Britain beckons

"I'll have to look at what the situation is in a few years’ time but at the moment my thinking is to go to Britain and participate in the 2016 Olympic trials there. I have two passports, one British and one for the Turks and Caicos Islands. I've been to Britain in the past and will be there again for an awards ceremony during the Olympics so I know the place a little. I wouldn't feel out of place wearing a British vest in Rio in four years’ time," said the affable Williams.

However, Williams is used to being a bit of a globetrotter.

He is currently studying in Jamaica at the famed Munro College, a well-known boy's boarding school in St Elizabeth, and it is one of the coaches there that has honed his talent since he was 14 and first made his way across the Caribbean.

In fact, he only returns home once a year to see his family.

"For the first two years it used to be at Christmas but now it's the summer as I'm in training camp. It can be a lonely existence at a boarding school in a foreign country, it was certainly challenging at first, you can image there are a lot of let's say pranks at an all-boys boarding school but it's also made me a man," said Williams who has one more year still to go at Monro College.

From Moncton to Munro

Two years ago, he went to the last edition of the World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada, but crashed out in the heats of both the 100m and 200m. It was that experience that directly led him to a gold medal two years later.

"I sat and watched the semi-finals and final of the 200m (won by Japan's Shota Iizuka) in Moncton and said to myself: 'That's where I want to be in two years’ time. I told my coach at Munro, Neil Harrison, that was my target and we've worked hard towards that.

"I came here prepared, I wasn't a complete surprise I'd run 20.53 in Montego Bay back in February so that put me third or fourth on the list and I knew I was in with a chance (of a medal). I knew the American runners (Aaron Ernest and Tyreek Hill, who got the eventual silver and bronze medals) were good but I looked at my coach just before the start and I could see that he wasn't worried, so I said to myself, 'If he's not worried, I don't need to be either.'"

His big grins and relaxed demeanour before he got into his blocks also suggested a sprinter who was at peace with himself and quietly confident of his own ability.

Williams then proceeded to stun his opponents and everyone in the stands with a fantastic turn of acceleration that moved him from being in seventh place 40 metres from the line all the way to being the first man home.

Power push

"At 60 or 70 metres from the line, I could hear my coach's voice in my head going 'Push it, push it, keep your form,' and that's when I made my move but I didn't know I'd won even after I'd crossed the line until I saw my coach telling me that I had."

Celebrations were done in a very modest fashion, there was no Usain Bolt-esque clubbing until the early hours. "I wish, but no sir," joked the ever-polite and modest Williams whose composure and attitude - if not his rather wild armed technique - bring to mind a young Kim Collins.

"I was so tired, I just called my parents, and then lay in bed with my lap top and looked a few times at the video of the race on YouTube."

Many World Junior Championships men's 200m winners, perhaps as much as any event at this level, have gone on to great things in the senior ranks. The roll call of honour includes the likes of Ato Boldon, Francis Obikwelu, a certain Usain Bolt and Christophe Lemaitre.

The name Delano Williams certainly doesn't look out of place on that list after his impressive showing in Barcelona and, like his four predecessors, might be in contention for global accolades at another level in a few years’ time, regardless of whose vest he might then be wearing.

Phil Minshull for the IAAF

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