Profile of Sarah Ali-Khan

Profile of Sarah Ali-KhanMar 19, 03

By Earl Zukerman

McGill All-Canadian Student-Athlete Profile

NAME: Sarah ALI-KHAN
SPORT: McGill Cross Country and Track & Field
EVENTS: Distance (600m, 1000m, 1500m, 3000m, 4x400m, 4x800m, 5k)
SIZE: 5-foot-8
COACH: Dennis Barrett
BORN: May 9, 1973 in Baie d'Urfe, Que.
YEARS: 1998-99 to 2002-03
MAJOR: Pharmacology (PhD)
HOMETOWN: Christchurch, New Zealand

From 1997-98 to 2002-03, the McGill Martlets track and cross-country teams were led by distance runner Sarah Ali-Khan, a doctorate student in pharmacology. She competed for Canadian national team at 2003 IAAF world cross-country championships in Lausanne, Switzerland, March 29-30 and in 2004, became the first McGill-trained athlete to receive federal carding status by Athletics Canada.

Born in Baie d'Urfé, Que., she was raised in Christchurch, New Zealand, and graduated from Canterbury University in Christchurch with a bachelors of science in biochemistry, including a year as an exchange student at the University of Auckland.

She entered post-graduate studies at McGill in 1997 but took a sabbatical from school in 1998-99 to travel around Europe. She has earned Academic All-Canadian honours five times for maintaining an academic average over 80 per cent. She was also a five-time honouree on the McGill Principal's student-athlete honour roll, accorded to students who earn a cumulative grade-point average over 3.5 on a scale of 4.0.

From 1999-00 to 2001-02, she won an unprecedented total of three consecutive Gladys Bean trophies as the McGill female athlete of the year. (Only one male athlete has accomplished a comparable feat: Percival Molson between 1898-99 and 1900-01).

Ali-Khan earned All-Canadian honours five times in track & field and four times in cross-country. She has won athlete-of-the-week awards 20 times at McGill, 12 times at the QSSF conference level and four times at the CIS national level.

The most decorated female athlete in McGill history, she won an unprecedented three consecutive Gladys Bean trophies as the McGill female athlete of the year, from 1999-00 to 2001-02 and was edged out in 2002-03 by hockey Olympian Kim St-Pierre.

(Only one male athlete has accomplished a comparable feat: Percival Molson between 1898-99 and 1900-01).

Ali-Khan was also a two-time Quebec conference nominee for the prestigious Howard-Mackie Award (now the BLG Award), presented annually to the Canadian university athlete of the year.

She was named three times as the CIS track athlete of the year, earning All-Canadian honours five times in track & field and four times in cross-country.

Over her four seasons of cross-country competition at McGill, she won Team MVP honours each year and finished in the medal hunt 19 times in 22 races, with 12 golds, five silver medals, two bronzes, one fourth-place finish, one eighth-place showing and one ninth.

Over her five years in varsity track & field, she won MVP honours each season and captured a school record of 65 medals in 26 meets, including 50 golds, 14 silvers and one bronze.

She has a McGill record total of 13 medals at the CIS national championships (7 golds, 5 silvers, 1 bronze), breaking the previous mark of six, held by Dr. Linda Thyer between 1992 and 1995.

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES:

  • father (Zafer) is a professor in microbiology at McGill
  • lists snowboarding and listening to techno music as her hobbies
  • was a distinguished painter in her last year of high school in New Zealand

2002-03 TRACK HIGHLIGHTS: in five intercollegiate meets, won 12 gold medals and three silvers. Was voted co-athlete of the meet at the CIS Championships and received the Tissot Award as CIS track athlete of the year after winning three gold medals.Won four golds and one silver at QSSF championships and was voted as Quebec conference's track athlete of the year. Won THREE McGill ATHLETE OF THE WEEK awards in track, TWO Quebec athlete of the week honours and ONE CIAU ATHLETE OF THE WEEK awards

  • GOLD in 1500m (4:34.06) at the Vert et Or Open Meet at Sherbrooke (Jan. 18)
  • GOLD in 4x800m relay (10:13.67) at the Vert et Or Open Meet at Sherbrooke (Jan. 18)
  • GOLD in 4x400m relay (4:10.43) at the McGill Team Challenge (Jan. 25)
  • SILVER in 4x800m relay (9:50.11) at the McGill Team Challenge (Jan. 25)
  • SILVER in 3000m (9:58.26) at the McGill Team Challenge (Jan. 25)
  • GOLD in 600m (1:34.81) at the McGill Open II Meet (Feb. 22)
  • GOLD in 3000m (9:40.77) at the McGill Open II Meet (Feb. 22)
  • won four GOLDS (600, 1000, 1500, 4x800) and one SILVER at the QSSF Championships
  • won three GOLDS (600, 1000, 1500) at the CIS Championships

2002-03 CROSS COUNTRY HIGHLIGHTS: in six intercollegiate meets, won 4 gold medals, one silver and had a fifth-place finish. Won gold at QSSF championships and was voted as the Quebec conference's runner of the year. At the Canadian university championships: finished fifth overall with a time of 18:08 in the 5k circuit. At the Canadian open championships in Moncton on Nov. 30, was ninth overall in the 6k course with a time of 20:42.Named THREE times as McGill athlete of the week in cross-country, once as the Quebec athlete and once as the Canadian university athlete of the week.

  • GOLD at the McGill Open meet (Sept. 21) by six seconds, finishing the 4k course in 13:53
  • SILVER at the Western Invitational meet (Sept. 28), finishing the 5k course in 18:13
  • GOLD at Sherbrooke Invitational (Oct. 5) by 27 seconds, finishing the 4.4k course in 15:27
  • GOLD at Laval Invitational (Oct. 12), finishing the 4k course in a record time of 13:54
  • GOLD at QSSF Championships at Beaconsfield (Oct. 26) by 54 seconds, finishing 5k in 16:38
  • FIFTH at CIS Championship meet (Nov. 9), finishing the 5k course in 18:08
  • competed for Canadian national team at 2003 IAAF world cross-country championships in Lausanne, Switzerland, March 29-30 (finished 59th of 68 competitors overall with a time of 31:14 in the 8k long-course, her first time running that distance)

2001-02 TRACK HIGHLIGHTS: in six intercollegiate meets she won 11 gold medals, 2 silvers and had relay finishes of 7th and 8th place at the Nationals

She earned all-conference status and was named three times as McGill's athlete of the week (plus twice more in cross-country). She also earned the conference athlete-of-the-week award once in track (and twice in cross-country).

Among her highlights, she:

  • ran the fastest 600m by a Canadian university athlete this season (1:32.22)
  • ran the fastest 1500m by a CIAU athlete this season (4:22.82)
  • ran the second fastest 1000m by a Canadian university athlete this season (2:48.50)
  • ran the 15th fastest 3000m by a Canadian university athlete this season (10:21.90)
  • At the CIS national championships in Sherbrooke, she won one gold (1000m) and one silver (1500m) also anchored the relay teams to 7th place in the 4x800m and 8th in the 4x400m
  • At the QSSF track championships hosted by McGill (Feb. 22-23), she earned all-conference status, winning FOUR gold medals and one silver. She was named PERFORMER OF THE YEAR for her winning time in the 600m, where she set a McGill Fieldhouse and QSSF championship meet record in 1:32.22; her other gold medals came in the 1000m (3:02.95), 3000m (10:21.90) and the 4x800m relay, which established a QSSF championship meet record in 9:39.03. Her silver medal was in the 4x400m relay.
  • At the McGill All-Comers meet (Feb. 15), she won gold in the 1500m (4:34.93).
  • At the St. Valentine's meet in Boston (Feb. 9), she won gold in the 1000m (2:48.50).
  • At the Rouge et Or Invitational meet in Ste-Foy (Feb. 2), she won gold in the 1000m (2:54.09).
  • At the Vert et Or Challenge in Sherbrooke (Jan. 19), she won three gold medals and was named female athlete of the meet, helping McGill to finish first overall. She finished first in the 600m (1:42.90), was first in the 1000m (2:56.54) and anchored the 4x800m relay, which placed first in 10:03.11.

2001-02 CROSS COUNTRY HIGHLIGHTS: in six meets she won 3 golds, two silvers and had a fourth place finish.Among her highlights, she:

  • was FOURTH at the McGill Open meet (Sept. 15), finishing the 4k course in 14:22 (15 seconds behind the race leader)
  • won SILVER at the Western Invitational meet (Sept. 21), finishing the 5k course in 18:13 (only 8 seconds behind the race leader)
  • won GOLD at the Sherbrooke Invitational meet (Sept. 29), finishing the 4.4 k course in 15:27 (27 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher)
  • won GOLD at the Laval Open meet (Oct. 13), finishing the 4.4 k course in 13:45 (breaking the course record by nine seconds)
  • won GOLD at QSSF championship meet in Beaconsfield on Oct. 27, finishing the 5k course in 16:38 (54 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher)
  • won SILVER at CIS national championship meet in Sherbrooke on Nov. 10, finishing the 5k course in 18:16 (only one second behind the race leader)
BRIEF SEASON-BY-SEASON RECAP AT McGILL:

In her first year (1997-98) with the track & field team, she won seven gold medals, four silvers and bronze, including a first, second and third-place finish at the CIAU championships in Windsor, where she earned All-Canadian status. She did not compete in cross-country.

In 1998-99, she took a sabbatical from school to travel around Europe.

In 1999-00, she decided to try-out for the cross-country team and by season's end, had earned all-conference and all-Canadian status in addition to Quebec athlete-of-the-year honours. In six cross-country meets, she won two golds, one silver and a bronze and finished eighth at the CIAU championships.

In track, she won 10 gold medals and two silvers over her five meets, earned another All-Canadian honour and was voted CIAU athlete of the year . At the CIAU championships hosted by McGill, she scored in all four of her events, racking up 17 of the team's total of 22 points by winning gold in the 1500m (7 pts) with a personal best time, winning silver in the 1000m (5 pts) and anchoring the 4x800m (4th place; 4 pts) and 4x400m (6th place; 1 pt).

Ali-Khan was named THREE times as the McGill-Adidas athlete of the week in addition to one Quebec and one Canadian weekly award. She capped off the year in fine fashion, beating out hockey goaltender Kim St-Pierre for the Gladys Bean award as the McGill female athlete of the year. She also earned the Quebec conference nomination for the prestigious Howard-Mackie award, presented annually to the CIAU athlete of the year.

In 2000-01, Ali-Khan repeated as an All-Canadian in both sports in addition to earning the conference's athlete-of-the-year award in both, winning her second consecutive Gladys Bean award as the McGill female athlete of the year. She also won her second straight Quebec conference nomination for the Howard-Mackie award. In six cross-country meets, she won three golds, one silver and a bronze, finishing third at the CIAU championships in Toronto. In five track meets, she captured 10 golds and three silvers. She earned the CIAU performance-of-the-year award for her time in the 1000m at the St. Valentine Invitational meet hosted by Boston University. However, she bettered that time at the CIAU championships in Sherbrooke, winning the 1000m in 2:49.39 - the fastest time run by a CIAU athlete this season. Ali-Khan accounted for 19 of her team's 25 points at the CIAU meet, winning one gold and two silvers, to become the all-time CIAU medal winner in McGill track history. She was second in the 1500m (4:37.47) and anchored the 4x800m relay team to second place (9:13.45). Ali-Khan was voted as the Quebec conference athlete of the year in both track & field and cross-country. She was named six times as the McGill-Adidas athlete of the week and four times as the Quebec university athlete of the week this season is once again a finalist for McGill athlete of the year honours. The awards banquet is scheduled to be held at the McGill Sports Centre on April 6.

2000-01 SEASON CAPSULE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • voted as the Quebec conference nominee for the Howard-Mackie Award
  • won Gladys Bean Trophy as the McGill female ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
  • was a CIAU ALL-CANADIAN for the SECOND straight season in cross-country
  • was a CIAU ALL-CANADIAN for the THIRD consecutive season in track & field
  • earned QSSF ALL-CONFERENCE status in both cross-country and track & field
  • voted as the Quebec conference ATHLETE OF THE YEAR in both track & field and cross-country
  • voted QSSF and CIAU female PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR honours in track & field (2:50.52 in 1000m at Boston meet); a time that she improved upon at the CIAU championships (2:49.39)
  • selected SIX times as McGill-Adidas ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
  • selected FOUR TIMES as QSSF ATHLETE OF THE WEEK & once for the CIAU weekly award
  • named THREE times as the McGill-University Bytes ATHLETE OF THE MONTH
  • In six cross-country meets, she won THREE golds, one silver and a bronze, finishing third at the CIAU championships in Toronto. At the QSSF championships hosted by UQTR, she won GOLD.
  • In five track meets, she captured TEN golds and three silvers, including THREE golds, one silver at the QSSF championships and one gold with two silvers at the CIAU championships

AT THE CIAU TRACK & FIELD NATIONALS:

  • at 2001 CIAU championships at Sherbrooke, she won one gold medal and two silvers to become the top medal winner in McGill track history with 3 golds, 4 silvers, one bronze
  • at 2000 CIAU championships at McGill, she scored in ALL four of her events, racking up 17 of the team's total of 22 points by winning gold in the 1500m (7 pts) with a personal best time, winning silver in the 1000m (5 pts) and anchoring the 4x800m (4th place; 4 pts) and 4x400m (6th place; 1 pt) relays
  • at 1998 CIAU championships at Windsor, she helped McGill's 4x800m relay team to a gold medal in a time of 8:56.57, and also earned silver in the 1000m and bronze in the 600m.

1999-00 SEASON CAPSULE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • was a CIAU ALL-CANADIAN in track & field and a second-team ALL-CANADIAN in cross-country
  • earned QSSF ALL-CONFERENCE status in both cross-country and track & field
  • was voted as the QSSF and CIAU female athlete of the year in track & field
  • was voted as the Quebec conference female athlete of the year in cross-country
  • a THREE time McGill ATHLETE OF THE WEEK and ONCE as QSSF & CIAU ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
  • in cross country: won GOLD at QSSF championships in Rimouski and was EIGHTH at CIAU championships in London
  • in track & field, won THREE golds, one silver at QSSFs; Won GOLD & SILVER at CIAUs (set TWO McGill records)

1999-00 TRACK & FIELD HIGHLIGHTS:

  • in five competitions, she won 10 gold medals and two silvers
  • was named TWO times as the McGill female athlete of the week (Jan. 17, March 13)
  • voted as MVP of the track team
  • went undefeated in all her Quebec conference meets in three events (600m, 1000m, 1500m)
  • ran fastest time in the CIAU this season for the 1500m (4:27.50; a McGill record)
  • ran second-fastest time in the CIAU this season for the 1000m (2:49.84; a McGill record)
  • ran third-fastest time in the CIAU this season for the 600m (1:33.75)
  • on Mar. 10-11 at CIAU championships at McGill, she scored in ALL four of her events, racking up 17 of the team's total of 22 points by winning gold in the 1500m (7 pts) with a personal best time, winning silver in the 1000m (5 pts) and anchoring the 4x800m (4th place; 4 pts) and 4x400m (6th place; 1 pt) relays
  • on Feb. 25-26 at the QSSF championships at Sherbrooke, she was voted female athlete-of-the-meet, winning THREE golds (600m,1000m and 4x400m) and ONE silver (4x800m)

1999-00 CROSS COUNTRY RUNNING HIGHLIGHTS:

  • in six competitions, she finished 8th, 1st, 3rd, 2nd, 9th and 1st
  • went undefeated in all her Quebec conference meets
  • voted as MVP of the cross country team
  • At the CIAU championship in Kingston on Nov. 13, McGill finished sixth of 16 teams and she was eighth, completing the 5 km course in 17:58, some 29 seconds behind the gold medalist.
  • At the QSSF championship in Rimouski on Oct. 31, McGill finished first of three teams and she won gold, completing the 5.1 km course in 18:19.

IN 1999-2000: Ali-Khan won gold at the 1999 QSSF championships, was voted as the Quebec conference's runner of the year and earned CIAU second team All-Canadian status with an eighth-place finish at the CIAU national championships.

On Nov. 2, she was named as the McGill, Quebec and CIAU female athlete of the week.

The McGill women opened the season at the McGill Open in Montreal on Sept. 18, where they were fifth of seven teams. Ali-Khan, running unnattached, finished fourth overall in the race, completing the 4k circuit on the slops of Mt. Royal in a time of 14:22, just 15 seconds behind the race leader.

At the UWO Invitational on Sept. 24, McGill was fifth of 12 teams led by Ali-Khan's ninth-place showing. She finished the 5-kilometre circuit in 18:53, some 44 seconds behind the gold medallist.

At the Sherbrooke Open on Oct. 2, the Martlets were second of four teams, with Ali-Khan winning silver, completing the 4.4km course in 16:02.

At the Queen's - RMC Open in Kingston on Oct. 16, McGill placed second of nine teams. Ali-Khan won bronze, completing the 5k course in 18:44, 10 seconds short of gold.

At the QSSF championship in Rimouski on Oct. 31, McGill finished first of three teams. Ali-Khan won gold, completing the 5.1 km course in 18:19.

At the CIAU championship in Kingston on Nov. 13, McGill finished sixth of 16 teams. Ali-Khan was eighth, completing the 5 km course in 17:58, some 29 seconds behind the gold medalist.

1997-98 TRACK & FIELD HIGHLIGHTS: won 12 medals The Martlets won the QSSF championship and finished third at the CIAU championships, led by All-Canadian Sarah Ali-Khan.

At the QSSF championships, she was voted female athlete-of-the-meet, winning three golds (1000m, 4x400 and 4x800) and one silver (600m). Her time in the 1000m (2:50.5) was the fastest in the CIAU that year.

At the CIAU championships, she won gold as part of the 4x800m relay (8:56.57), silver in the 1000m (2:50.41) and bronze in the 600m (1:34.20). She also helped McGill to a fourth-place finish in the 4x4000m relay (3:53.47) 1997-98 TRACK HIGHLIGHTS AT A GLANCE:

  • on Jan. 24/98 at the McGill Invitational, she won two golds ( 4x400m and 4x800m)
  • on Jan. 31/98 at the Université de Laval Open, she won a silver in the 600m;
  • on Feb. 14/98 at the Vert et Or Challenge in Sherbrooke, she won a gold in the 4x800m and a silver in the 600m; and
  • on Feb. 27-28/98 at the provincial championships, she was named the female athlete-of-the-meet after winning three golds in the 1000m, 4x400m and 4x800 and a silver in the 600m.
  • on March 12-15/98 at the CIAU championships in Windsor, she earned All-Canadian status after winning gold, silver and bronze (see details above).

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Sarah Ali-Khan's Career Medal Count at McGill TRACK & FIELD

  • top medal winner in McGill track history with 65 medals in 26 career meets:
    • (50 gold, 14 silver, 1 bronze)
  • top McGill medal winner in McGill track history at CIS track championships:
    • 13 medals (7 gold, 5 silver, one bronze) in five meets
  • top McGill medal winner in McGill track history at QSSF track championships:
    • 22 medals (17 gold, 5 silver) in five meets

1997-98 TRACK & FIELD MEDALS AT A GLANCE:

  • won 12 medals in five intercollegiate track meets overall: 7 golds, 4 silvers and 1 bronze
    • AT QSSF CHAMPIONSHIPS: 3 golds (1000m, 4x400m, 4x800), 1 silver (600m)
    • AT CIAU CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1 gold (4x800m), 1 silver (1000m), 1 bronze (600m), 4th (4x400m)

1998-99 TRACK & FIELD MEDALS AT A GLANCE:

  • did not compete; spent the year in Europe

1999-00 TRACK & FIELD MEDALS AT A GLANCE:

  • won 12 medals in five intercollegiate track meets overall: 10 golds and 2 silvers
    • AT QSSF CHAMPIONSHIPS: 3 golds (600m,1000m, 4x400m), 1 silver (4x800m)
    • AT CIAU CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1 gold (1500m), 1 silver (1000m), 4th (4x800m), 6th (4x400m)

2000-01 TRACK & FIELD MEDALS AT A GLANCE:

  • won 13 medals in five intercollegiate track meets overall: 10 golds and 3 silvers
    • AT QSSF CHAMPIONSHIPS: 3 golds (1000m, 1500m, 4x800m), 1 silver (4x400m)
    • AT CIAU CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1 gold (1000m), 2 silvers (1500, 4x800m), 5th (4x400m)

2001-02 TRACK & FIELD MEDALS AT A GLANCE:

  • won 13 medals in six intercollegiate track meets overall: 11 golds, 2 silvers
    • AT QSSF CHAMPIONSHIPS: 4 golds (600m, 1000m, 3000m, 4x800m), 1 silver (4x400m)
    • AT CIAU CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1 gold (1000m), 1 silver (1500m), 7th (4x800m), 8th (4x400m)

2002-03 TRACK & FIELD MEDALS AT A GLANCE:

  • won 15 medals in five intercollegiate track meets overall: 12 golds, 3 silvers
    • AT QSSF CHAMPIONSHIPS: 4 golds (600m. 1000m, 1500m, 4x800m), 1 silver (4x400m)
    • AT CIAU CHAMPIONSHIPS: 3 golds (600m, 1000m, 1500m), 4th (4x800m), 11th (4x400m)

CROSS-COUNTRY

  • top medal winner in McGill cross-country history with 19 medals in 24 meets:
    • (12 golds, 5 silver, 2 bronze)

1997-98 CROSS COUNTRY MEDALS AT A GLANCE:

  • did not compete in cross-country; only competed in track

1998-99 CROSS COUNTRY MEDALS AT A GLANCE:

  • did not compete; spent the year in Europe

1999-00 CROSS COUNTRY MEDALS AT A GLANCE:

  • in six intercollegiate meets overall: 2 golds, 1 silver, 1 bronze, 8th place, 9th place
    • QSSF championship: gold
    • CIS championship: bronze

2000-01 CROSS COUNTRY MEDALS AT A GLANCE:

  • in six intercollegiate meets overall: 3 golds, 1 silver, 1 bronze, (1 result missing)
    • QSSF championship: gold
    • CIAU championship: bronze

2001-02 CROSS COUNTRY MEDALS AT A GLANCE:

  • in six intercollegiate meets overall: 3 golds, 2 silvers, 4th place
    • QSSF championship: gold
    • CIS championship: silver

2002-03 CROSS COUNTRY MEDALS AT A GLANCE:

  • in six intercollegiate meets overall: 4 gold medals, 1 silver, 5th place
    • QSSF championship: gold
    • CIS championship: fifth

Revised: March 24/03 by Earl Zukerman, McGill Communications Officer (514) 398-7012