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Simeon's shock gold

PUBLISHED: 17:15 20 July 2007 | UPDATED: 14:35 07 September 2010

HIGHGATE Harriers' Simeon Williamson ran the race of his life to claim the 100 metres gold medal in the European Under-23 Championships in Debrecen, Hungary on Friday. The 21-year old pipped the hot favourite

By Patrick Mooney

HIGHGATE Harriers' Simeon Williamson ran the race of his life to claim the 100 metres gold medal in the European Under-23 Championships in Debrecen, Hungary on Friday.

The 21-year old Williamson pipped the hot favourite and British team-mate Craig Pickering to win in a personal best time of 10.10 seconds - a championship best. It was also the second fastest time this year by a Briton behind Marlon Devonish, who has recorded 10.06secs.

Pickering, who was four-hundredths of a second behind him, also ran a best of 10.14secs. It was sweet revenge for the Highgate runner, who was beaten by Pickering to the gold medal in the 2005 European Junior Championships.

"I've been waiting for two years for this," said a delighted Williamson, who had a false start against him first time around.

However, Williamson held his nerve and it was the start that won him the gold - his reaction time at the gun was officially registered at 0.117, just seven-hundredths inside the permitted time.

"I have never been so nervous as I was when we came out on to the track and after the false start I thought to myself 'Here we go again'," he said. "Under pressure, I don't normally drive out of the blocks but this time I did.

"I remembered what my coach Lloyd Cowan had been drilling into me then when I felt Craig coming up on my inside, I just kept up the technique."

Williamson came second in the semi-final in Debrecen behind the favourite Martial Mbandjock of France, who eventually finished third in the final in 10.27secs. Mbandjock had run a Championship best of 10.16 in the semi-final.

"Williamson was initially helped by Juliet Kavanagh, Highgate's sprint coach and is now fully coached by Lloyd Cowan at the UK Athletics North London High Performance Centre," said Harriers' press secretary Alastair Aitken.

"Last year Simeon was injured until late in the season and ran several times for Highgate before coming third in the European trials over 60 metres indoors in the winter."

pat.mooney@hamhigh.co.uk


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