Canada unveils 2009 world track team
Felicien, Lopes-Schliep lead way, Tyler Christopher absent
Olympic bronze medallist Priscilla Lopes-Schliep and former world champion Perdita Felicien highlight the 31-member Canadian team for next month's world track and field championships.
Athletics Canada named its team Tuesday for the meet Aug. 15-23 in Berlin, a day after the deadline to achieve the Canadian qualifying standards.
The team also includes Gary Reed of Kamloops, B.C., who was fourth in the 800 metres at the Beijing Olympics, and Dylan Armstrong, also of Kamloops, who was fourth in the shot put in Beijing.
Canada has teams in the 4x100 men's relay — sixth last summer in Beijing — and 4x400 women's relay, plus the men's marathon World Cup, which is being held in conjunction with the world championships.
"The Berlin world championships will be the first significant measure on our path to London 2012," Athletics Canada head coach Alex Gardiner said in a release. "Our top athletes including Priscilla, Dylan, Perdita, Gary, Nate [Brannen, in the 1,500] and the men's 4x100 team are showing good form and are in their final phase of preparation for Berlin. Each are capable of a podium finish."
Canada could conceivably win more than one medal in women's hurdles — Lopes-Schliep has the second-fastest time in the world this year, while Felicien, who is rebounding from the foot injury that kept her out last season, is eighth.
Canada captured two medals at the 2007 world championships in Osaka, Japan — silvers by Reed and Felicien.
Notable absences in Berlin include Tyler Christopher, a former world championship bronze medallist in the 400. Christopher, of Chilliwack, B.C., has been struggling with coaching changes and pulled up at the Canadian championships with a hamstring injury.
Veteran middle distance runner Kevin Sullivan is recovering from an injury and won't make the trip, while heptathlete Jessica Zelinka, fifth at the Beijing Olympics, recently gave birth to her first child.
There are also no Canadian women in the distance or events, once one of Canada's biggest strengths on the track.