|Nicole Sifuentes won her first major championship medal, bronze at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championship in the 1500-metres. Along with that came a new Canadian indoor record bettering Carmen Douma-Hussar’s 10 year-old mark of 4:08.18. Nicole’s time of 4:07.61 is the #1 mark in Canada in 2014 and puts her #11 in the World.
Athletics Canada (AC) – Can you take us through the final race, how were you feeling as the race unfolded?
Nicole Sifuentes (NS) – I remember setting the pace early on because I wanted a shot at the Canadian record. When Aregawi went to the lead I did not try to go with her but aimed to keep my pace steady. The middle of the race is a blur but I remember seeing my split at 1k and knew I was still on pace for the Canadian record. Focusing on that helped me get through the next lap and then suddenly the race was finishing! I tried to move around people and sprint as fast as possible. I was not in medal contention until the last second of the race. When I realized I was getting near to 3rd place I lunged at the line and ultimately ended up with bronze by 0.01 of a second.
AC – What was going through your mind as you waited to see if you were the bronze medallist?
NS – I was happy. I had already set a Canadian record and run the race I envisioned for myself. I was totally satisfied with my performance and the outcome, so I wasn’t anxious. Of course, the prospect of bringing home a medal was very exciting! I didn’t know what happened in the race, so I prayed that the officials would make a fair decision, and I was hopeful that it would be in my favour.
AC – How did you celebrate the medal?
NS – My husband and I went out in Gdansk that evening for dessert. I am always on sweets lock-down leading up to the end of a season so that’s all I wanted 🙂 The celebration was perfect because my husband was with me!
AC – After your bronze medal performance you were quoted: "When I was a little girl watching these meets I was always watching for a Canadian woman just to be on the start line. To be a Canadian woman on the podium is really special." What advice can you now give to younger athletes?
NS – That’s a hard question to answer. I am 27 years old – so many things have come together over the years! Based on my own experience, I would encourage young athletes to enjoy sport as much as possible. Doing too much too soon can be overwhelming, stressful and tiring. Enjoy what you do, and every year have goals to work harder and improve on the previous year. I still love running but some days it takes all my willpower to get out the door for my run. I am totally dedicated now, but I built up to it over 15 years (I started running when I was 12 years old). To sum it up: be patient and persistent!
AC – What are your goals going into the outdoor season?
NS – At the Commonwealth Games, improve on my 5th place finish from 2009 and get on the podium. Set a new PB in the 800m and the 1500m.
is the BioSteel Athlete of the Month and will be featured throughout April on www.athletics.ca.