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It?s very different having a female coach. She pushes me harder… GB Sprint Star Jodie Williams (UK)

Jodie Williams?has withdrawn from the Great Britain squad competing at the world relay championships in the Bahamas this weekend. The European and Commonwealth silver medallist said she was disappointed to miss the competition in which GB teams can secure qualification for the 2016 Olympics if they reach the finals in Nassau.

The 200m specialist waited ?right up to the last minute? before making the decision after sustaining a minor hamstring tear while training in Florida.

?Unfortunately I got a tear about two weeks ago, which has now recovered, but we thought it would be too much of a risk to run there. If anything happened while I was out there I?d let the whole team down so I pulled out as a precaution,? said Williams, who will open her season at the Great CityGames in Manchester next Saturday.

In 2014 the 21-year-old was one of the most exciting talents in British athletics as she made a thrilling comeback from the injuries that prevented her from competing at London 2012, and hampered her breakthrough year as a senior athlete, bursting through to win her first senior medals on the international stage. Joining up with Christine Bowmaker ? a rare example of a female coach in the sport ? has changed everything.

?It?s made a massive difference,? said Williams, who ran a personal best of 22.46sec last summer. ?I think last year was about learning about each other and we had a great year, now we know how each other works we can push on again this year.

?It?s very different having a female coach. She pushes me harder ? I think sometimes male coaches let you off the hook slightly because you are a girl. Obviously Christine knows what we are capable of so she expects me to be up there with the guys in my training group, no excuses.?


The partnership plans for Williams to focus exclusively on her preferred event, the 200m, this season ? a new departure for the athlete who memorably excelled over both distances as a junior. ?I think my doubling up days are behind me,? Williams said, ?that?s not to say they won?t come back, but for now I?m focusing on the one event. As a sprinter I?m much more comfortable running the 200m, that will be my main focus but I will still do the 100m and the odd 400m.?

The change will have an interesting effect on her relay plans, while the 4x100m national record holder will make the sprint relay her ?main priority? she also hopes to make the 4x400m GB squad if she can fit more 400m races into her schedule this summer. That?s a tough ask for an event which has become more competitive than ever. ?It?s the best squad we?ve had in a long time,? Williams said. ?We?re battling for a spot on the team which has never happened before. I think people will be looking out for the girls even more than the guys. It?s great to be a part of that.?

Next Saturday, in the streets of Manchester, Williams will face her old foe, Dafne Schippers, aka ?the flying Dutchwoman?, who has snatched gold from the Briton at junior and senior level. The heptathlete who only recently began specialising in sprints will be raring to go but Williams says she will be taking it easy in her first outing of the season.

?I?m confident about getting on to the start line and being in good shape but I think because of this minor injury I?m not putting too much pressure on it. I just want to go out there and race well and if I don?t it won?t be the end of the world. There?s a long time until the world championships. I?m obviously taking it seriously but I?m just going there to have fun.?

The world championships in Beijing is William?s main aim, targeting a first senior final before Rio next year. ?The medals I won last year were my first senior medals but they were Commonwealth and Europeans and there?s a step up again to the worlds and Olympics which is massive.

?That?s something me and my coach really appreciate. I want to progress to make finals at worlds and Olympics and then start challenging for medals over the next couple of years.?

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