IAAF World Championships in Moscow beckon for athletes Williams and Tobais

PUBLISHED: 09:10 08 August 2013 | UPDATED: 09:10 08 August 2013

Jodie Williams competes in the Women's 200m at the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games.  Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images

Jodie Williams competes in the Women's 200m at the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games. Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images

2013 Getty Images

TWO sprinters from Welwyn Hatfield are set to come face-to-face with the best athletes on the planet at the IAAF World Athletics Championships which start in Moscow on Saturday.

In what will be their senior debuts at the event, the pair are realistic about their aims and hope the experience of being in close quarters with the world’s best will benefit their careers in the long run.

WGC’s Jodie Williams is in the GB team for the 200m and 4x100m relay, while University of Hertfordshire student Deji Tobais has travelled to Russia as part of the men’s 4x100m relay squad.

Ahead of the Championships, Herts Phoenix star Williams, said: “Moscow is literally about experience I am not expecting to go out there and get a medal or anything like that.

“For me even just making the semi-finals or final would be a great achievement.

“It is about going out there, experiencing it and competing against these guys.”

Last month ex-Queenswood and Dame Alice Owen’s student Williams took part in the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games at the Olympic Stadium.

It was the first time the 19-year-old had raced there, having suffered the disappointment of missing London 2012 through injury.

Williams finally took to the east London track for the 200m and placed sixth in 23.06 seconds.

Prior to those games she had a fine outing at the European U23 Championships where individually she won 200m gold and 100m silver.

She added: “If someone had told me this was all going to happen to me the year after 2012 I would have definitely taken it.

“But an athlete always wants to do better, is always striving for more and I know there is much more to come in the 200m.”

Tobais, who studies Business and Sport Studies at the University of Herts, is part of an eight-strong men’s British 4x100m relay squad.

The 21-year-old is hoping that he will get some track time and a chance to impress, but knows there is stiff competition for sprint places in the GB set-up.

“It’s going to be tough because the British sprinters have stepped up a little bit this year,” he said.

“There’s a good crop of young sprinters coming through so it won’t be easy going into the Europeans or the Commonwealths in Glasgow.

“I’d like to think I’ve done enough for Moscow. Obviously I want to run a little bit faster but I’m fairly confident in the team as a whole anyway.

“Whether or not I get to run at Moscow I don’t care, as long as I’m there just soaking in the atmosphere at the World Championships.

“It’s just about learning and gaining from the experience.”

Like Williams, Tobais took part in the Anniversary Games and the European U23 Championships.

He clocked 10.30secs to cross home in fourth in an all-British 100m, behind the likes of Adam Gemili, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and Mark Lewis-Francis.

And he featured the following day as part of a second-string British 4x100m relay quartet, which finished fifth at the Olympic Stadium.

Tobais won 4x100m relay gold at the European U23 Championships as the GB&I men’s team set a championship record of 38.77secs.

Tobais also won 100m silver, behind Gemili, in 10.29secs.

He is putting those successes behind him as he sets his new targets, he added: “Part of my eye is on Glasgow and Zurich for the Europeans next year, but I want to focus on Moscow for now.”

He knows a lot of hard work is still ahead of him as he progresses in his sport, adding: “I’m looking forward to another hard year, another soggy, wet winter and then going from there.”

The Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games was the final event in the Sainsbury’s Summer Series. For more information on Sainsbury’s support of world class athletics and disability sport go to www.sainsburys-live-well-for-less.co.uk/occasions/anniversary-games/

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Welwyn Hatfield Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Welwyn Hatfield Times