It seems like noone can take that wonderful smile off Brigitte Foster-Hylton’s face. And why should the new World champion stop smiling?
At 34 years of age she took her first global title in superb fashion in Berlin and has remained undefeated since winning in world class fields in Zurich, Gateshead, Brussels and Rieti. She has run one hundredth of a second off her 6-year-old personal best and this was less than a year after she contemplated retirement from a sport which has seen her at the very top level for no fewer than 12 years.
Foster-Hylton took her sixth consecutive win of the year here in Thessaloniki as she once again defeated World silver and bronze medallists Priscilla Lopes-Schliep and Delloreen Ennis-London and Olympic champion Dawn Harper.
After a first false start was caused by Ennis-London in lane two, it was Canadian champion Lopes-Schliep who was fastest out of the blocks holding the slightest of leads over Foster-Hylton who was running in lane five on her outside. The Jamaican took her time to make ground over her strongly built opponent and it wasn’t until the eighth hurdle that she took the lead.
A strong finisher and her confidence boosted by her recent outstanding results Foster-Hylton seemed to have no problems holding on her narrow lead over the remaining two obstacles and dipped on the line taking in her wake Harper in lane 6 and 2003 World champion Perdita Felicien of Canada in lane 7.
On the inside Ennis-London too was in the mix and while it looked like a fairly clear win for Foster-Hylton it was close, oh so close for the minor places.
The Jamaican World champion was all smiles as soon as she crossed the line her win and the 30,000$ prize money confirmed by the scoreboard at 12.58.
“I feel pretty tired,” said Foster-Hylton. “I ran a flat race. I had a sluggish start and I had to push all the way.
“I feel very confident this year and maybe that was key to a successful season. This was my last big goal of the season,” she concluded.
It took a photo finish reading to determine the minor medals as the next four athletes were all credited with 12.61. Harper was given the nod for second with Ennis-London in third and the Canadian pair of Lopes-Schliep and Felicien in fourth and fifth respectively.
“I enjoyed the race,” second runner-up Harper. “Second place in a good result. I would like to thank the crowd for their support. They helped me a lot.”
Foster-Hylton’s smile will now please crowds in Shanghai and Daegu before the World champion takes a well deserved break.
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF