Hurdling showdown set

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:52 AM ET

The stars of the show breezed into the final at the Canadian track and field championships yesterday.

The marquee event at this year's nationals -- being held at the University of Toronto's Varsity Stadium -- is the women's 100-metre hurdles, given the fact that the events boast a former world champion in Perdita Felicien and Olympic bronze-medallist in Priscilla Lopes-Schliep.

The two hurdlers easily won their respective heats yesterday. Felicien, who missed the 2008 Beijing Olympics with a foot injury, posted the fastest time of the day, 12.89 seconds, into a 2.2 metres per second headwind. Lopes-Schliep, who captured the bronze in Beijing, won her heat in 13.15, into a 2.6 headwind. That was the second fastest time of the day -- setting up what should be an exciting final this afternoon.

"It is exciting," Felicien said. "This is like a Golden League race."

Pickering native Felicien is rounding back into form this season and hopes to capture her eighth national title against her Canadian team arch rival, Lopes-Schliep.

Lopes-Schliep, on the other hand, is gunning to defend the national title she won last season. The Scarborough native, who now lives in Whitby, has posted the fastest 100-metre hurdles time in the world this year (12.52) and is looking to break Felicien's Canadian record in the event (12.46), set back in 2004.

"It's about rhythm at this stage," Felicien said of her present form. "You can tell Priscilla has great rhythm right now, she's in great form, but she hasn't been interrupted (with an injury). Someone who's been injured or sick, you lose that sensory pattern in your body."

Felicien is confident, however, that she'll regain her form by the world championships in Berlin this August.

"All it takes for most (hurdlers) is one fast race and then you're just rolling," she said. Lopes-Schliep was happy with her race yesterday, save for a few "floater hurdles".

"I'm in the air really long, instead of getting off the hurdle and being quick and snapping over it," she explained. "I had a couple of those."


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