International track star Nia Ali, left, returned to Philadelphia on Thursday. — PHOTO BY ABDUL R. SULAYMAN/TRIBUNE CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER

International track star Nia Ali, left, returned to Philadelphia on Thursday. — PHOTO BY ABDUL R. SULAYMAN/TRIBUNE CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER

When Nia Ali got off the plane at the Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday, she was able to bring home the gold medal shoe worn Sunday in the World Championship Meet in Doha, Qatar. Ali, a former West Catholic High School track star, won the 100 meter hurdles with a personal best time of 12.34. This was quite an accomplishment taking first place against best athletes in the world.

“My phone has over 300 text messages,” Ali said. “I didn’t know I had that many numbers. I got a lot of great feedback and positivity. A lot of people were inspired. My motivation for this year was just to show people that.

“My family and friends are so supportive of me and what better place to be then my hometown of Philadelphia. I was just very excited to touch down in the U.S. [United States]. I haven’t been consistently back home since May. I’ve been away training in Germany and just based overseas pretty much for the whole season. I’m excited to be home and see all my family and friends. It’s a great feeling the season is finally over and all my hard work paid off.”

Ali topped the world record holder, Keni Harrison, to give the U.S. women their second 1-2 finish in the hurdles. The next stop for Ali will be the Olympics in the Tokyo, Japan next year. The World Championships provided her with great competition that she will see again down the road.

“It’s not that you don’t believe you put the work in or that you don’t believe that you have what it takes to do it,” Ali said of her accomplishment. “It’s just that you have to have it on that day when you line up. So, I just felt really grateful that it clicked when it needed to.

“My first time, I was a little less prepared back in 2017. I ran my slowest time in the finals. This time, I knew what to expect.”

dhunt@phillytrib.com (215) 893-5719

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