RALEIGH, North Carolina - Ivory Williams, America's newest sprint champion, knows all too well how mental errors can destroy dreams.
A year ago the 2004 world junior champion went to the US indoor nationals primed for victory but a false start left him on the sidelines while training partner Mark Jelks roared to the 60m title.
"He was probably physically ready (to win) last year, but he was mentally not ready," said Al Hobson, who coaches Williams.
"The two critical times people could have recognised him, there was a goof-up, mental mistakes," Hobson said of Williams's false start indoors and slow start at the US outdoor nationals that left him seventh in the 100m.
So the coach, who was retired world record holder Maurice Greene's early tutor, worked on patience, starting and strength with Williams. The reward came on February 28 in the sprinter-friendly thin air of high-altitude Albuquerque, New Mexico.
A solid start, now Williams's trademark, sent the 24-year-old to the year's fastest 60m, with a personal best of 6,49 seconds, at the US championships.
The triumph was Williams's fifth consecutive win of the season and thrust him into a favourites role for this week's IAAF World Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar.
"It will be hard to beat me," Williams said.
British European indoor champion Dwain Chambers, the year's second-fastest man, is likely to be his top challenger.
"He is a good starter and a good finisher," Williams said. "If I can run 49, I can run 45, if I can run 45, I can run 39." That would equal Greene's world record. His chance to emulate Greene may well come this weekend in Doha. - Reuters