Priscilla Lopes-Schliep returns
Ottawa - A mere six months after giving birth Priscilla Lopes-Schliep of Whitby, Ont., will make her official return to competition Saturday in Sherbrooke, Que., in the 60-metre hurdles. Lopes-Schliep will face off against two of her teammates in Phylicia George of Markham, Ont., and Nikkita Holder of Pickering, Ont., as well as Laval, Que., native Marie-Eve Dugas and Ashlea Maddex of Ottawa, Ont.
"I'm looking forward to come back to competition," said Lopes-Schliep. "It's been a while since I've been on a track with such a competitive group. I'll face some of the best in the world on Saturday, and anything can happen. It's an important step towards my objective to represent Canada at the London Olympic Games and get a medal."
The race will also be significant for George who is looking to break 8.00 seconds to punch her ticket to the World Indoor Championships taking place March 9-11 in Istanbul, Turkey. "It's a blessing that the organizers have accommodated us. I'm only two hundredths of a second from a ticket to the World Indoor Championships, and I'll get my chance to get it with three of my training partners pushing me," said Phylicia.
Holder has already run the A standard for World Indoors and will make the trip to Turkey. "I'm very excited to return to Sherbrooke. The last time was in 2003 for the World Youth Championships. I've had a very good indoor season and my participation at this meet represents a good opportunity to run under 8.00 seconds with a strong field."
Canadian hurdling's 5-headed monster
A lot has taken place in women's hurdles since Lopes-Schliep took a year off to start her family. 2011 saw a pair of stars, George and Holder, burst onto the national and international scenes finishing the season ranked 11th and 9th in the world respectively. George won the inaugural National Track League title in the hurdles and finished 7th at the World Championships. Holder finished 6th at the World Championships and 5th at the Aviva Grand Prix Diamond League competition. Both started the season with 100-metre personal bests in the mid 13 second range but when all was said in done their PBs stood almost a full second faster.
Of course not to be forgotten in all of this is Perdita Felicien of Pickering, Ont., and Angela Whyte of Edmonton, Alta., who also have their sights set on the London Olympic Games. Whyte was 6th at the 2004 Games and finished 8th at the 2007 World Championships. Felicien is a 10-time Canadian champion, the Canadian record holder, and a two-time World Champion.
Canada now boasts five of the worlds' top hurdlers heading into the Olympic Games, all of which fully expect to be in the starting blocks in London on August 7 with gold, silver and bronze on the line. Only three can make the trip to London, that fateful race will go down in Calgary on June 30 at the Olympic Track & Field Trials.