Athletics: Rhys Williams admits nerves ahead of return after ban

Rhys Williams
Rhys Webb has won 400m hurdles medals at European and Commonwealth Games.

Welsh athlete Rhys Williams admits being nervous ahead of his first race since serving a ban for failing a drugs test in July 2014.

Williams, 31, was subsequently cleared of knowingly cheating, but served a four-month ban.

The 2012 European 400m hurdles champion returns at the Welsh Athletics Regional Championships at Spytty Park in Newport on Saturday.

"I will be will be nervous, but I race better when I'm nervous," he said.

UK Anti-Doping found that Williams and fellow countryman Gareth Warburton had inadvertently taken a contaminated food supplement.

Media playback is not supported on this device

I am a victim, not a cheat - Williams

Both athletes had to withdraw from the 2014 Commonwealth Games, where Williams was set to be co-captain of Wales' athletics team.

Williams, the son of former Wales and British and Irish Lions wing JJ Williams, hopes his low-key return will be the first step on the road to the World Championships in Beijing in August.

"It's been a living nightmare to be honest, but I'm glad I've put it behind me," he said.

"I can't wait to get back racing so I'm really looking forward, it's exciting but it's all gearing up towards the world championships this year and I really want to put that British vest back on.

"Training has gone well, I've kept my head down, got back to work. Training times have been good so can't wait to get this bad episode behind me and look forward."

Williams would have to finish in the top two in the British Championships on 5 July to gain selection for the World Championships.

He says he has not taken any food supplements since his ban, and is trying to avoid them if possible.

"I can't say I'll never take them, but I haven't taken anything since then [ failing the test]," he added.

"It'd like to win the GB shirt with nothing more than just food - my food bill is a lot bigger now than it used to be."