Canadian hurdler Phylicia George finished third Friday in the season-opening Diamond League competition in Doha.
George, of Markham, Ont., crossed the finish line in 12.79 seconds at the Qatar event to continue her impressive progress towards this summer's London Olympics. She reached a Diamond League podium for the first time in her career last September.
The race was won by 2009 world champion Brigitte Foster-Hylton of Jamaica in a time of 12.60. Kellie Wells of the United States, who won the Doha stop in 2011, was second
Priscilla Lopes-Schliep of Whitby, Ont., was sixth in 12.95 as she continues to get into elite form after giving birth to a daughter just nine months ago. She posted strong results last week in Jamaica and Mexico.
Pickering, Ont., natives Perdita Felicien and Nikkita Holder also competed. Felicien, the 2003 world champion, ran a season-best 12.95 to edge Lopes-Schliep for fifth, while Holder stumbled to finish eighth.
Felicien is looking to get back to the Olympics after missing the Beijing Games due to injury.
Canada has qualified three competitors for the 100 women's hurdles at the London Olympics with the results under the Olympic A standard of 12.96. Who exactly will be packing for England will be determined next month at the Olympic trials in Calgary.
The three medallists from the 2011 world championships were not competing: Sally Pearson of Australia, as well as Danielle Carruthers and Dawn Harper of the U.S. Harper was the 2008 Olympic champion.
In other results, American sprinter Justin Gatlin returned to Doha with a 9.87 time to win the 100 metres over Asafa Powell of Jamaica. Gatlin chased down the fast-starting Powell, beating him by 1/100th of a second.
Powell got off to the faster start but Gatlin pulled even and managed to get his head in front as they crossed the line.
"This is fastest I ever opened up my career," said Gatlin, who dedicated the win to son Jace on his second birthday.
Gatlin tied Powell's world record of 9.77 seconds in Doha six years ago, but the result was erased when he was caught with excessive levels of testosterone. Gatlin tested positive for excessive levels of testosterone, which led to a four-year ban.
Gatlin and Powell are gearing up for the London Games. Olympic champion Usain Bolt skipped the meet, along with Tyson Gay of the United States, who is recovering from injury.
"I just showed I have a lot of grit and a lot of competition in these old legs," Gatlin said. "I want to come back and show the world I can run to the line with the best of them."
Lerone Clarke of Jamaica ran a personal-best 9.99 for third.
Felix has options
At a 2006 meet in Doha, Gatlin tied Powell's then world record of 9.77 seconds. His time was erased weeks later after Gatlin tested positive for excessive levels of testosterone, which led to a four-year ban.
Reigning world and Olympic champion Usain Bolt skipped the Doha meet.
Allyson Felix of the U.S. added some intrigue ahead of the Olympics by topping rival Veronica Campbell-Brown and Olympic champ Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the 100. Felix, better known for her prowess at 200 and 400, clocked in at 10.92. The Jamaicans were timed at 10.94 and 11.00, respectively.
Felix is undecided over which distances she will compete in at the London Games in July.
Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, who dominated the 5,000 and 10,000 distances between 2004-2009, was a disappointing seventh in the 3,000, won by Augustine Choge of Kenya. Bekele missed nearly two years of competition due to calf and knee injuries.
Walter Dix of the U.S. took the men's 200 fairly comfortably, crossing in 20.02.
World champion David Rudisha of Kenya cruised to an 800-metre win, running 1:43.10.
Beijing Olympic champs Melaine Walker of Jamaica and Pamela Jelimo of Kenya won their races. Walker took the 400 women's hurdles in 54.62 seconds, while Jelimo beat the field in the 800 with a 1:56.94 time.
Other winners Friday:
- Men's 400: Lashawn Merritt, United States
- Men's 1,500: Silas Kiplagat, Kenya
- Men's 3000 Steeplechase: Paul Kipsiele Koech, Kenya
- Men's high jump: Dimitrios Chondrokoukis, Greece,
- Men's long jump: Aleksandr Menkov, Russia
- Men' s discus: Piotr Malachowski, Poland
- Women's 3,000: Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot, Kenya
- Women's pole vault: Anastasiya Savchenko, Russia
- Women's triple jump: Olga Rypakova, Kazakhstan
- Women's shot put: Nadzeya Ostapchuk, Belarus
- Women's javelin: Mariya Abakumova, Russia,