Nia Ali is a world track and field champion.
The 2006 Pleasantville High School graduate won the 100-meter hurdles in a personal-best 12.34 seconds at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, on Sunday.
Ali, 30, led the race from the start. She screamed with joy when she crossed the finish line. Keni Harrison, of the United States, finished second in 12.46 seconds. Danielle Williams, of Jamaica, was third in 12.47 seconds.
“I’m so ecstatic right now,” Ali told The Associated Press. “I’m truly at a loss for words.”
The championship was Ali’s first at the world outdoor championships. In 2014 and 2016, she won the 60 hurdles at the world indoor championships.
At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero, Ali won the silver medal in the 100 hurdles.
Ali’s continued success is even more remarkable for a variety of factors.
First is her age. At 30, she is four years older than Harrison and three years older than Williams.
Ali also returned to competition this outdoor season after giving birth in June 2018 to the daughter, Yuri Zen, she had with boyfriend and Canadian sprinter and Olympic medalist Andre De Grasse. Ali also has a 4-year-old son, Titus Tinsley.
Ali lives and trains in Los Angeles. She grew up in the Germantown section of Philadelphia but moved to Pleasantville for her senior year of high school. Ali’s family is close with Pleasantville track and field coach Alan Laws. They come from the same Philadelphia neighborhood, and Ali refers to Laws as her uncle.
“She doesn’t get old ,” Laws said Sunday afternoon. “She doesn’t get old. She just knows how to compete in championships. She’s a competitor.”
Laws said watching Ali win is like watching one of his own children.
“It’s always new to me,” he said. “It’s always exciting.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.