BEIJING, China:Competing in her second World Championships, Jamaican sprint hurdler Danielle Williams looked smooth as she stopped the clock at 12.77 in the 100m heats at the World Championships in Beijing’s Birds Nest.Williams got the better of American hopeful Kendra Harrison 12.90 and Isabelle Petersen, 12.96 of Norway, in what was her third time in the 12.7 seconds range this season.However, the diminutive hurdler is not getting ahead of herself and is fully cognisant that she will most likely need to run much faster than 12.77 or than her personal best, 12.69, if she is to be a factor in what is one of the most competitive events at the championships.”I feel like I’ve been sitting around for way too long so I’m happy to have started,” said Williams, who said she was becoming restless with the wait for her competition to start.”I’m definitely not surprised with the time because I’ve been running 12.7s consistently all season, so I’m definitely expecting to go faster, hopefully, my legs hold up,” she added.”The aim is to run a personal best here and in any event, I think it’s what it will require to get to the finals anyway,” said Williams, who has finished in the top three in all 11 of her competitions this season.”Mentally, I am definitely more prepared than I was in 2013. Besides, back then, I hadn’t run with these world-class athletes, it was my first time coming up against them and I was a bit timid. Now I’ve been competing against them all season long so I feel on par,” Williams added.”I consider my changes as good as anybody else. It’s a hurdles race, so anything is possible. I’m a competitor at heart and I tell people that I don’t run track and field because I love it. It’s because I love the competition, so I am anxious to go out there and compete with the best of the best, toe to toe to the line,” Williams said.”I’m pretty satisfied with my execution. I’m sure my coach will probably find something that I probably didn’t do right, but I’ll watch the tape and come back and, hopefully, I can fix it going into the final,” she added.Williams, the national champion, said she is not focusing on any perceived pressure being the fastest Jamaican this year and the national champion, but is backing herself to do really well here.”I’m not really focusing on that I’m just focusing on executing, taking it round by round, race by race, and, hopefully, I run fast enough to make it into the finals,” said.-A.L.
The result also means they have qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as one of the three best performing European sides in France.“The most important thing is that we won against Italy,” said Sherida Spitse, who set up both goals with stunning set-piece deliveries.“That I can be important with my free-kicks I know that, but the most important thing is that we are going to the semi-finals and Tokyo.”Both teams had complained about the scheduling of the match in the middle of the afternoon during a punishing early summer heatwave that is sweeping Europe.However it was the Dutch who responded best to the on-pitch humidity, with temperatures creeping over 30 degrees Celsius, completely dominating the second half in an impressive display that will give whoever wins later on Saturday pause for thought.“It was really, really warm out there, but I’m just trying to tell myself that it’s not hot,” said Dominique Bloodworth, one of four Arsenal players in the Dutch team.“The second half I felt much better and that we were going to score a goal and win the game so that gives you wings.”– Out of luck –The Dutch struggled initially to get behind Italy’s tenacious back line despite being gifted the the ball on countless occasions, and the ‘Azzurre’ had the best opportunities of a cagey opening half through Valentina Bergamaschi and her AC Milan teammate Valentina Giacinti.However, they took control of the match early in the second half, with Lieke Martens twice forcing Italy goalkeeper Laura Giuliani into action and Miedema just failing to connect with Desiree Van Lunteren’s fizzing low cross seven minutes after the break.Danielle van de Donk then hit the bar just before the hour mark with a dipping effort before Spitse saw her powerful free-kick flick out off the post.Italy’s luck ran out in the 70th minute when Spitse whipped in a perfect cross from the left flank that Arsenal striker Miedema glanced home with her head to make it 61 goals in 80 international matches.Italy wilted and 10 minutes later the Dutch sealed their place in the last four, Spitse with another precise delivery that van der Gragt emphatically headed home at the far post to end the contest and Italy’s dream run in France, with their players crying in the aftermath.“We are really upset because we got this far and had the chance to qualify for the Olympics. That’s what we dreamed of,” said Barbara Bonansea, who started their unexpected run with two goals against Australia in their opening group game.Italy had not reached the quarter-finals since the very first women’s World Cup in 1991.“No-one expected all this from us so we can’t be anything but happy.”The United States and England will face off in the other semi-final on Tuesday after the Americans beat France 2-1 in a pulsating encounter on Friday. England beat Norway 3-0 on Thursday.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000The Netherlands celebrate history at the women’s World Cup after defeating Italy © AFP / Denis CharletVALENCIENNES, France, Jun 29 – The Netherlands reached the semi-finals of the women’s World Cup for the first time in their history on Saturday after Vivianne Miedema and Stefanie van der Gragt scored in a 2-0 win over Italy in Valenciennes.Appearing at just their second World Cup, the Dutch will travel to Lyon to face one of Germany or Sweden, who play later in Rennes, in the last four after fine headers from record goal-scorer Miedema and Van der Gragt in the last 20 minutes of this quarter-final.