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Tyler Christopher wins gold at world championships

9 March 2008

Tyler Christopher Tyler Christopher
By John MacKinnon

Tyler Christopher outsprinted Sweden's Johann Wissman and Chris Brown of the Bahamas over the final 40 metres to win the men's 400-metre race Sunday at the World Indoor Championships in Athetics in Valencia, Spain.

The 24-year-old Christopher covered the distance in 45.67 seconds, lowering his own Canadian indoor record and posting the fastest indoor time so far this season. Wissman was second in 46.04, while Brown, who placed fourth at the outdoor World's last August in Osaka, was third in 46.26.

The Chilliwack, B.C. native, who now lives and trains in Edmonton, qualified fastest for the final and started in lane five, the slot he wanted for the two-lap race over a 200-metre track. But at the 150-metre mark when the runners can cut to the inside lane, he was boxed in by Wissman and Brown, who started on either side of him.

"They (Wissman and Brown) basically squeezed him off in the straightaway," said Kevin Tyler, head coach at the Canadian Athletics Coaching Centre at the University of Alberta's Foote Field. "He had to put the brakes on and fall back to third.

"At one point down the backstretch, he was five metres back. Then he came off the last corner and he just blew by them. He took it all in the last 40 (metres)."

Christopher's was the first gold medal for Canada at the indoor world's since Pickering, Ont.'s Perdita Felicien won the 60-metre hurdles in 2004.

Canada now has won seven gold medals in the history of the championships.

It was just the third-ever indoor competition for Christopher, who won the bronze medal at the 2005 World Championships outdoors in Helsinki, and was the silver medalist behind Brown at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro last July.

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