Allyson Felix acclaims Jodie Williams' potential

Jodie Williams

British teenage sprinter Jodie Williams has a bright future in front of her, according to American three-time world champion Allyson Felix.

Williams, 17, missed out on 60m bronze by just 0.01 seconds on her senior debut at the European Indoor Championships in Paris last month.

"I think Jodie has great potential," said Felix. "She's young but she can still accomplish a lot of things.

"She should not let her age get in the way, just go for it."

A-level student Williams served notice of her potential when she won the 60m indoor title at the UK Trials and Championships in Sheffield in February with a personal best time of 7.24 seconds.

Prior to that, the world junior 100m champion had dominated the junior ranks, building a winning streak of 151 races before having to settle for silver in the 200m at last summer's World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada.

Felix, who won 200m gold at the last three World Championships, trained briefly with Williams ahead of last August's Diamond League meeting at Crystal Palace and praised the young Briton's approach.

"I did get the chance to meet her and even do a small training session with her and I think that her mindset is really good," said the 25-year-old American.

"She's excited about the future and just to see what she's done so far has been great, so I think that she's going to have a really bright future and I'm also looking forward to watching it."

Despite her display in Paris, Williams will not compete at the World Championships in Daegu in August, having decided with her father Richard and coach Mike McFarlane to resist overtures from UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee.

Felix, who was just 18 when she won 200m Olympic silver in Athens in 2004, believes the step up should not intimidate Williams.

"I would tell her to enjoy this part of her life but also to just go for it," added Felix.

Felix is currently training with a view to running both the 200m and 400m at the World Championships in South Korea.

Allyson Felix
Three-time World 200m Champion Allyson Felix

It is the first time she will have doubled-up at a major championship and she is hoping to use it as a test to see whether she is capable of doing so again at the Olympics in London next year.

"I'm definitely looking at how my body can handle the workload and it'll definitely play a part in what I'll do in London," said Felix, who was a key member of the American 4x400m relay team which won Olympic gold in Beijing and the world title in 2007 and 2009.

This season, Felix is likely to renew her 400m rivalry with British Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu and world champion Sanya Richards-Ross, both of whom have struggled with injury of late.

However, she admits that next year's event in London is never far from her thoughts as she bids to claim 200m Olympic gold at the third time of asking.

"For me it's always in my mind and you're always thinking about it," she said. "I'm focused on this season, but it's definitely a building block to London.

"It's kind of a dress rehearsal. But London is always motivating and exciting."

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