BERLIN — Ten minutes before race time they came looking for her.
Not her coach with some last-minute advice, and not her husband with a couple of last words of encouragement. No, the visitors for Canadian hurdler Priscilla Lopes-Schliep were from doping control and they wanted a urine sample.
“When they came up to me I was shocked,” she said. “I just tried to put it out of my head, I couldn’t let it get to me, and just do what I had to do. None of the other girls had that situation happen. I was the only one but I think I dealt with it pretty good.”
That she did, as the native of Whitby, Ont., added a world championship silver to the Olympic bronze she won at the Beijing Olympics last summer.
Her time of 12.54 seconds Wednesday in the 100-metre hurdles at the IAAF World Championships left her just back of the 12.51 posted by gold medallist Brigitte Foster-Hylton. Fellow Jamaican Delloreen Ennis-London was third in 12.55.
Lopes-Schliep was especially pleased with the result given the “big distraction” she had with the doping control just before the race, something she didn’t realize was possible.
“To have to deal with that, I think I overcame that,” said Lopes-Schliep, who was also asked for a sample after the race, but didn’t have to produce twice.
“Basically refocusing, regather myself, do what I had to do, get off those blocks as fast as I could, I think executed that pretty well.”
That wasn’t the case for former world champion Perdita Felicien of Pickering, Ont., who had a disastrous race. Athletics Canada said cramping in her calves caused her to clip the second hurdle, and she ended up finishing last in 15.53 seconds.
“I didn’t see her after the race,” said Lopes-Schliep, “she disappeared.”
Lopes-Schliep, on the other hand, looks like she’s here to stay.
A surprise bronze medallist in Beijing, she’s continued to post strong results this year, coming into the world championships after a victory at the DN Galan meet in Stockholm, Sweden.
“I know I have more in me,” she said.
Lopes-Schliep kept pace with her fellow medallists throughout Wednesday’s race and after crossing the finish line, she hugged the jubilant 34-year-old Foster-Hylton before draping herself in a Canadian flag.
“I knew I was in the top three but I didn’t know what the place was,” said Lopes-Schliep. “I knew Brigitte was in front of me and I told her she won and she said she didn’t even know because she ran to the finish with her eyes closed.
“I did a little celebration like last year at the Olympics, so I think that’s my signature mark now.”
The only other Canadian in action Wednesday was Adrienne Power of Halifax, who finished sixth in her 200-metre heat in 23.38 and did not advance.
Felicien won the world title in 2003 and captured silver at the 2007 meet in Japan. But she has also had her share of struggles. Felicien was among the favourites heading into the 2004 Athens Olympics but fell over the first hurdle in the final. She missed the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing due to a foot injury.