Perdita Felicien wouldn’t turn 23 until the following day, but on August 28, 2003 she presented herself with the birthday present of a lifetime in winning the women’s 100m hurdles final at the World Track and Field Championships in Paris. The win made Felicien the first Canadian female track and field athlete to win a world title. The Pickering, Ontario hurdler did so in outstanding fashion, outfinishing race favourite Brigitte Foster of Jamaica to take the Gold medal in a Canadian record 12.53 seconds. Earlier in the year Felicien, a former Ontario high school champion and two-time Canadian champion, had served notice she was an international talent to watch, as she won her second straight NCAA 100m hurdles title for the University of Illinois, becoming just the third woman to win back-to-back titles in the discipline. She also earned the Silver medal behind Foster at the 2003 Pan-American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Wendy Long

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