Al Haddad advances to 400m hurdle final

It was a morning of elation and heartbreak for two hurdlers on day five of the Canadian Track and Field Championships at Terry Fox Athletic Facility. For Saj Alhaddad that meant comfortably advancing to tomorrow’s 400 metre hurdle final, while Mary Ollier saw her chance to race again this weekend slip through her fingers following a tumble off the final hurdle.

Crossing the line in 52.13 seconds, Alhaddad executed his game plan of staying calm, clearing hurdle ten and seeing where everyone is at and cruising to victory. “There’s already lots of pressure heading into the race, so I tried to keep it as relaxed as possible,” said Alhaddad following the race.

After a blistering start to his season, which saw Alhaddad move to fourth in club history with a time of 51.34 seconds, he was hampered by some back issues which led to a change in game plan and a break from racing. He returned to action only a couple weeks ago with a silver medal at the Ontario Championships in 51.65 seconds.

Malik Metivier of the Etobicoke Track and Field Club, who won gold ahead of Saj at the provincial championships, won the other semi-final, but Alhaddad did have a message for tomorrow’s final. “This is home, and we need to be ready to protect home.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Mary Ollier appeared to be executing her race plan to a tee, even clearing hurdle ten, but stumbled to the track in proceeding steps. “I came off the last hurdle and I think I lost my balance,” said Ollier who was confident she was on the way to a new personal best and possibly a spot in Sunday’s final.

Ollier, who was racing in her third race of the week did also think there may have been some fatigue in her legs after running the 400m qualifying on Thursday and the semi’s last night.

Action continues today and tomorrow at Terry Fox Athletic Facility with 200m semis and finals being the big draw on Saturday.

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