Williamson's Olympic dream is hanging in the balance
THE eyes of the athletics world will be on Birmingham this weekend, where the Aviva National Championships and Team GB Olympic selection trials are being held. Nowhere will the lenses be more focused than the 100m, where Highgate Harriers Simeon Williams
THE eyes of the athletics world will be on Birmingham this weekend, where the Aviva National Championships and Team GB Olympic selection trials are being held.
Nowhere will the lenses be more focused than the 100m, where Highgate Harriers' Simeon Williamson will be among those vying for the three places available for next month's Beijing Games - along with former drug cheat Dwain Chambers.
For Williamson, 22, the race represents an outside chance of competing at a second senior championships this year, after he reached the 60m final at the World Indoor Championships in Valencia back in March.
However, the Middlesex University student has not enjoyed similar success in the outdoor season, and goes into Friday's heats looking an outside bet to qualify.
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He did have a morale-boosting victory at a meet in Milan last week, but his winning time of 10.27 seconds is still short of the Olympic qualifying standard of 10.21.
He will need to considerably improve on that to have any chance of imposing himself on Saturday's final.
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There are no such problems for 30-year-old Chambers though, who clocked the fastest 100m time by a British sprinter this year, 10.05 seconds, and is a favourite to finish inside the top two in Birmingham.
Chambers' battle is more in the courtroom, though, as he challenges the British Olympic Association's bylaw that bans for life any athlete who has tested positive for drugs - as Chambers did so notoriously in 2003 - from participating at the Olympics.
It now looks as though his date in court will not be until the end of next week, and almost certainly not before the GB team for Beijing is selected on Monday.
The final deadline for the complete GB team to be forwarded to the International Olympic Committee is on Sunday week, July 20.
The third 100m spot is up to the discretion of the GB selectors, who will certainly not give it to Chambers with the veteran Marlon Devonish and young hopefuls such as Tyrone Edgar, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and Craig Pickering all in contention.
Williamson looked to be ahead of all of those rivals a few months ago but Edgar has since run 10.06 while Pickering and Aikines-Aryeetey are the new young hopes in the eyes of UK performance director Dave Collins.
Williamson has ironically found himself in the same position as Chambers, and will need to finish in the top two on Saturday to make Beijing.