400 fav, Christopher, pulls up lame

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:41 PM ET

There was no chilling for Chilliwack, B.C., native Tyler Christopher yesterday at the Canadian track and field championships.

Christopher, one of Canada's top track athletes and the favourite to win yesterday's 400-metre final, pulled up after about 150 metres and tossed his sleeves on to the track in frustration -- capping off what has been an extremely frustrating year for the 2008 world indoor 400-metre champion and 2005 outdoor world championship bronze medallist.

Christopher, 25, was considered a solid medal contender for Canada at last summer's Beijing Olympics but ran a disappointing 45.67 seconds in the heats, finishing fifth and failing to qualify for the semifinals. The runner suggested his poor performance was the result of the flu, but there was talk his nerves got the better of him.

To make matters worse, about six months ago, Kevin Tyler, his coach and good friend, left to take a job with the British track team.

Yesterday, Christopher blamed his breakdown on a sore hamstring.

"Better safe than sorry," he said. "The gun went off, I realized at about 30 metres that I wasn't out hard enough, so I decided to push a little harder ... I felt a little twinge in the hamstring. I tried to adjust, felt another twinge, and then decided to shut it off."

STILL HAS TIME

Christopher, who holds the Canadian record of 44.44, has until the end of July to run the world A standard (45.55). The runner admitted he wasn't about to risk further injury at a nationals, an event where he has little competition.

"It's always a challenge to get up for the nationals. Unfortunately, there isn't anyone for me to race," he said.

Nathan Vadeboncoeur of Winnipeg won the event in 47.051 seconds, edging out Brampton's Daniel Harper, who clocked in at 47.055.

Gary Reed of Victoria, the 2007 world silver medallist, easily won the men's 800 in a time of 1:47.45, well off his Canadian record of 1:43.68.


Videos

Photos