Team GB sprinter Bianca Williams says Olympic 'dream' now impossible after being banned from driving for six months

4 December 2023, 16:25

Bianca Williams arriving at Lavender Hill Magistrates' Court after pleading guilty to failing to give information relating to the identification of the driver/rider of a vehicle when required on three occasions
Bianca Williams arriving at Lavender Hill Magistrates' Court after pleading guilty to failing to give information relating to the identification of the driver/rider of a vehicle when required on three occasions. Picture: Alamy

By StephenRigley

Team GB sprinter Bianca Williams has been banned from driving despite telling a court it could stop her from training and jeopardise her "dream" of going to next year's Olympics.

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Ms Williams, 29, failed on three occasions between April and June 2023, to tell police the identity of a driver alleged to have committed an offence while driving a Tesla Model 3.

The athlete, who submitted an application to try and keep her licence, claimed not driving would make it "massively inconvenient" for her to get to training.

But magistrates at Lavender Hill Magistrates' Court in south London rejected her claim she could not use public transport and suspended her from driving for six months.

Bianca Williams and Ricardo Dos Santos
Bianca Williams and Ricardo Dos Santos. Picture: Alamy

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In October, two Metropolitan Police officers were sacked over the stop and search of Ms Williams and her partner, the Portuguese sprinter Ricardo Dos Santos, 28, in 2020.

The couple are black and claimed they were racially profiled.

A police misconduct hearing was told officers followed Mr Dos Santos in their police carrier because of the "appalling" and "suspicious" nature of his driving and were doing their duty when they conducted the stop and search.

But the panel found two officers had lied about smelling cannabis.

Having pleaded guilty to three charges of failing to tell police the identity of a driver, Ms Williams told the court she was not driving the Tesla at the time of the alleged offences.

Representing herself, Ms Williams said she was currently working as a tennis coach in the evenings and as a full-time athlete during the day.

The sprinter, who lives in the Maida Vale area of west London with her partner, said it was "massively inconvenient" to get to the central London athletics track where she trains using public transport, and "really hard" to get to her tennis coaching sessions in north London without a car.

Ms Williams, who told the court she drops off her three-year-old child at nursery before training every morning, said losing her licence would "make my dream of going to the Olympics next year impossible".

"I understand this is totally my fault, I shouldn't have relied on somebody else to fill out the form," she said.

"It's hard to get from nursery to training. My income would drop because I wouldn't be able to do any coaching sessions. "It would be horrible to lose my licence. I would potentially have no work and no income."

Ms Williams, who already had 11 points on her licence, said her partner Mr Dos Santos could not always help her get around because he is working as an Amazon delivery driver alongside his training.

Rejecting her application, Chairman David Matthews said: "The bar for an exceptional hardship application is a high one. There are other means of transport."

Ms Williams was disqualified from driving for six months and ordered to pay a fine of £276, a surcharge of £110 and £85 costs.

Another 18 points were added to her licence, bringing her total to 29.

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