Williams: I slept through Hurricane Ike so I won't be troubled by a storm over my passport
21:08 GMT, 7 April 2012
21:08 GMT, 7 April 2012
Delano Williams, the 18-year-old Caribbean sprinter whose dream of running for Britain in this summer's Olympics has added fuel to the controversy over eligibility, insists that his decision to switch allegiance from the Turks and Caicos Islands should be beyond criticism.
Williams applied for a British passport on January 22 and received it nine days ago, despite visiting Britain only once for a short holiday.
Fast track: Delano Williams training in Bermuda last week for the CARIFTA Games, in which he will run for Turks and Caicos
The next time he visits these shores will be in June to compete in the athletics trials when he will try to win a place in Britain's team for London.
But while the Plastic Brits storm has engulfed the likes of hurdler Tiffany Porter (born in the United States), long-jumper Shara Proctor from Anguilla and Cuban-born triple jumper Yamile Aldama, Williams has the perfect response to those who criticise his decision.
'If I want to go to an Olympics, this is what I need to do. I cannot go with Turks and Caicos,' he said last week as he prepared to compete at the CARIFTA Games in Bermuda, on Sunday and Monday.
'I'm taking the road that will get me there and my goal, in my heart, is to make the British team.'
The Turks and Caicos, an island chain with a population of just 45,000, are not eligible to take part in the Olympics in their own right.
Devastation: Houses damaged by Hurricane Ike, on Grand Turk, in the Turks & Caicos Islands, in September 2008
But they are a British Overseas Territory, as are the Falklands, Gibraltar and 11 other places, and under British legislation passed in 2002, all citizens of those territories are eligible for British passports.
Williams says he considered applying for a passport in 2010 in order to compete for Britain at the Youth Olympics in Singapore.
Only a procedural issue about needing to qualify on British soil rather than at home – as he had – meant he could not attend that event and so did not need the passport.
But his continued progress has made his London 2012 ambitions become rapidly realistic – and some critics raised eyebrows at the speed with which his passport was secured.
'Maybe when I did finally apply for a passport this year, it went faster than normal because people want to help me, I don't know for sure,' said Williams.
'But it's available to me as a Turks and Caicos citizen.'
Burgeoning talent: Williams (left) in the Boys' 200m at Jamaica's Inter-Secondary Schools Athletics Championships last month
As for the criticism of his change of allegiance, he insisted politely: 'Sir, I don't let it concern me. I cannot control it. It's going to happen but I cannot focus on negativity.'
Williams set a personal best in his favoured event, the 200m, of 20.53sec in February.
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Britain's got talent: Williams (left) hopes to switch allegiance for the Olympics
Delano's mother, Ruthe, is a beauty salon owner from Haiti, although she has lived in Turks and Caicos for 22 years.
Their son has lived, studied and trained on a third Caribbean island, Jamaica, since 2008.
But he ended up living in Jamaica only as a result of one of the most destructive weather events in history.
Hurricane Ike caused billions of dollars of damage and claimed hundreds of lives across the Caribbean and America in 2008.
Williams's school was destroyed and his education was indefinitely threatened, which is why one of his teachers, Neil Harrison, who is himself Jamaican, was able to persuade Williams's mother that her son might prosper at a Jamaican boarding school with a good record in sport, Munro College.
Harrison was about to take up a new post there, and Williams went with him, aged 14, paid for by a scholarship from the Turks and Caicos government.
'I had to leave behind my twin sister, Ashley, who is also my best friend,' said Williams.
Win and grin: Williams won the Boys' 100m race at Jamaica's Inter-Secondary School Athletics Championships for Munro College
'And I had to leave my mum, who cried and cried. But we speak every day and you have to take life's opportunities to get on.'
Harrison told me: 'I knew if I could take Delano to Jamaica and provide a decent education and facilities, we could harness his talent. The sky is the limit.
'He has a tremendous ability and the beauty of it is he also has a range of events from the 100m to 400m, although his speciality is the 200m.'
Williams admits that his mother had concerns about Jamaica. 'She had heard negative things about it, that it's a bad place,' he said.
'She was worried I'd get killed in gang violence. But I won't. My school is on a hill, very quiet. It's all good.'
His attitude, in general, seems 'all good', too, as relaxed as he is polite. He even managed to sleep through Hurricane Ike back in 2008.
'I knew it was coming and I guess we had concerns about what would happen,' he said.
'But then I got sleepy and I didn't want no drama so I went to bed. And when I got up, the place was wrecked, although my house wasn't damaged too bad.'
Determination and discipline: Williams (left) wants to give something back to Turks & Caicos
Whatever happens this summer, Williams says he will complete his studies at Munro College, where he has one more full year to go.
His girlfriend of three months, Amelia, 19, is studying law and journalism at a nearby sister establishment, and the quality of his course is such that he is seriously considering declining an offer to join Usain Bolt's training group – because it would mean moving, and changing his educational plans.
'I know I want to work in sports management one day, maybe help to run sport in Turks and Caicos to give something back,' he said.
'I live by three Ds – discipline, determination, dedication – and I'll do my best to achieve my dreams.
'When Neil first bought me to Jamaica I knew I'd need to get serious, to train hard every day and work hard on my studies. I owe it to myself to work the hardest I can.'
On the prospect of facing a London showdown with Bolt, who is set to be the global icon of this summer's Games, he added: 'I've dreamed that a lot, on many occasions, and I can achieve it, even though there are faster guys out there than me right now.
'If I don't make the 2012 final then I promise you I'll be in the 2016 final for Great Britain and instead in 2012 I'd settle for a place in the GB relay teams, fighting to win realistic medals.'
If he does make the London Games, it will bring back memories of his first visit to Britain, to attend an awards ceremony in 2010.
'I really liked the girls in their black sweaters and their eye-liner,' he said. 'But it was extremely cold. Oh my God, it was cold.'