Canadian medal hopes boosted

Canadian hopes for a first medal at the world track and field championships too a turn for the better Tuesday.

Cuba's Anay Tejeda

BERLIN — Canadian hopes for a first medal at the world track and field championships too a turn for the better Tuesday.

Hurdlers Priscilla Lopes-Schliep and Perdita Felicien advanced to the semifinals in the women’s 100-metre event. Lopes-Schliep, of Whitby, Ont., not only won her preliminary heat in 12.56 seconds but posted the fastest time of the opening round.

Felicien, of Pickering, Ont., was second in her heat in 12.77 seconds but owns the Canadian record of 12.46 seconds.

The top-four finishers plus the next four fastest times qualified for the semifinals. Edmonton’s Angela Whyte failed to advance, finishing fifth in her heat and 26th overall in 13.27 seconds.

Meanwhile, American Sanya Richards shook off years of disappointment with her first major title in the 400 metres.

Her main rival, Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu of Britain, was back in fifth. And for Shericka Williams of Jamaica, it was silver again.

“I finally got it right,” Richards said.

“It means the world to me.”

With a time of 49.00 seconds, Richards set the fastest mark of the year.

It was good news for the struggling U.S. team, which had been unable to keep Jamaica from celebrating in the sprint events.

At the Beijing Olympics last year, Richards faltered over the last 50 metres and Ohuruogu won. Not so this year. In the shadows of the Usain Bolt-Tyson Gay 100-metre showdown, this duel was nearly as good.

Richards, in the third lane, had a clear look at defending champion Ohuruogu in the seventh lane and caught up with her over the first 300 metres.

Then she only had to focus on the finishing line.

“She wanted it a little bit more than the rest of us,” Ohuruogu said.

Richards was 0.32 seconds faster than Williams. Antonina Krivoshapka of Russia took bronze.

The American crossed the line with her arms raised in celebration, showing utter disbelief that so many failures finally ended in victory. With a grin on her face, she danced a little number for screaming fans.

Not only did she keep all competition at bay, she also shook off another flare-up from Behcet’s syndrome, a rare disorder that causes chronic inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body.

Two years ago, she struggled with the disease when she failed to qualify for the worlds in Osaka, Japan.

This time, the lesions on her legs, stomach and inside her mouth were not going to conquer her.

Bolt, meanwhile, was looking to impose his dominance in the 200.

Going for his second gold medal of the worlds, Bolt jogged across the line to advance to the semifinals of the 200. Two days after setting a world record of 9.58 seconds to win the 100, the Olympic 200-metre champion ran a good curve and coasted through the final straight to finish in 20.41 seconds, a full 1.11 seconds behind his world record.

Sam Effah of Calgary, Jared Connaughton of New Haven, P.E.I., and Gavin Smellie of Toronto all qualified for the second round. Connaughton won his heat in 20.82 seconds.

However, none of the three advanced to the semifinals.

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