By RON FANFAIR
It’s hard not to want to run and hurdle very fast with a four-carat diamond dangling at the end of the finish line.
Whitby resident and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Priscilla Lopes-Schliep inched closer towards the $80,000 prize, winning last week’s 100-metre hurdles and posting the fastest time this season and a stadium record at the London Grand Prix.
It’s one of seven races for points that comprise the new Samsung Diamond League season that started in Doha, Qatar on May 14 and ends on August 27 in Brussels, Belgium.
Lopes-Schliep’s coach Anthony McCleary said he’s not surprised by his super athlete’s 12.52 secs. run which is 0.06 secs. short of rival Perdita Felicien’s Canadian record established six years ago.
“It’s just a matter of gaining confidence and putting it all together,” he said. “The expectation is for her to run fast in July and August and we are there. You set goals before the season begins and you then go out and work to achieve them. Priscilla is where she’s expected to be so I am not shocked by what she accomplished in London.”
She races tonight at the Weltklasse meet in Zurich where points are not allotted for the women’s short hurdles. The 2009 world outdoor championship silver medalist will take part in another European meet early next week before heading to Brussels for the final Diamond League women’s hurdle race and her last event this season.
Lopes-Schliep and American Lolo Jones, who won the first three events, are tied on 14 points while Felicien trails in fourth place with three points.
The Canadian hurdlers are among some of the world’s top athletes who are not going to this year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India from October 3-10.
McCleary feels that the timing, and not financial remuneration, is the main reason why the elite athletes have turned their back on the quadrennial multi-sport Games.
“It comes at the end of the season when the athletes are shut down,” he said. “It’s a little hard to get them to continue training and be ready at that time of year when they are resting and looking to getting back into training around December. I believe most athletes would have gone if the Games were in the middle of the track and field season.”