Forget about Serena and Venus, athletics has its very own Williams sisters and they’re ready to take on the world. Watch out.

Between 2005 and 2010 Jodie Williams was unbeaten in 151 straight races. Her first defeat came on the biggest stage when she competed at 2010 World Junior Championships in Moncton as a 16-year-old. Her career’s been somewhat of a rollercoaster since.

This week, the (still only) 22-year-old will line up at the London Anniversary Games, four years after injury ruled her out of the London Olympics before. Meanwhile, in Poland, her 18-year-old sister Hannah is holding her own over 400m at the World U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz.

Jodie was hailed the next big thing in sprinting, Britain’s potential answer to US legend Allyson Felix. She won the sprint double at the 2009 World Youth (U18) Championships and went into the 2010 World Juniors the overwhelming favourite to repeat the feat. But after taking gold in the 100m, Williams had to settle for silver over the half-lap distance. It was a bitter pill to swallow. 

“It was my first ever loss and at the time it obviously felt devastating. It felt like my whole world had crashed around me,” she recalls.

Almost six years to the day she’s sitting next to the newly laid track at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium, she looks back at the defeat and admits: “Honestly, I needed to lose that race, I needed to learn that lesson.

“No athlete doesn’t lose, it was getting ridiculous.” 

Jodie Williams reacts after finishing second in the 2010 World Junior Championships ()

"I needed to lose that race, I needed to learn that lesson" 

It wasn’t the only lesson Jodie took away from Moncton.

“It’s identical to the senior world. You need to learn that process, don’t let that pressure get to you. How are you gonna handle when there’s a camera in your face, call rooms, anti-doping or when there’s big crowds and things like that? It literally teaches you the process of being a senior athlete.”

If you listen to her reflect on a career that has already seen her win European and Commonwealth silver medals, as well as numerous European age group titles, you could be mistaken to think she was in her late twenties.

Meanwhile, sister Hannah – who’s “just so different” – has had a different start to her international career. That is not to say she isn’t hugely talented.

Out of eight races over 400m leading into the World Youth Championships in Cali last year, she recorded personal bests in seven of them. She then bettered her PBs in each round to finish sixth in 53.24 in the 400m final.

The younger sister posted a PB 52.80 at the World U20 Champs in Bydgoszcz, not making it through after finishing fourth in a fast semi final. But unlike Jodie, who from a young age had taken a very professional approach and “took everything so seriously”, Hannah takes it all in her own stride.

“She works hard, she trains hard,” insists Jodie, “but she kind of still has millions of friends and still has that social life.

“It’s actually quite refreshing for me to see. I think she’s taking such a good approach to it. It’s amazing how far she’s got with such a laid-back attitude. I am so proud of her.”

When you run a 52.80 PB at worlds... ✌️

Jodie is in the final stages of her Olympic preparation and will line up against the likes of world champion Dafne Schippers in the 200m in London on Saturday. She says it is a different feeling to being on the other side of the track supporting her younger sis. It has given her a new perspective.

“It’s weird,” she laughs. “Now I know how my family feel when they watch me. I’m more nervous watching her than when I am competing myself!

“You’re not in control. When you’re competing obviously you’re controlling what’s happening, whereas if you’re watching someone else, you’re always trying to run with them.”

And speaking of running together, the sisters are hugely competitive. Hannah is convinced she could beat Jodie, who has a 400m PB of 52.55 from two years ago, in her specialty event.

“I think I still got it at the moment, but in the next couple of years she’s gonna overtake me, so we need to have this race in the next couple of months, so I’m still on top.”