Pearson eases into 100-meter hurdles semis
AFP - Sat, Aug 12th 2017 12:00 AM
Pearson eases into 100-meter hurdles semis
LONDON: Australia’s 2012 Olympic champion Sally Pearson’s bid to put two years of injury hell behind her started well on Friday as she coasted into the 100-meter hurdles final.
The 30-year-old — the 2011 world champion — missed both the 2015 world championships and 2016 Olympics because of serious injuries, losing out on the former after suffering a “bone explosion” in her wrist in a terrible fall at a meet.
The perils of this event were evident in the heats when Trinidadian Deborah John crashed into the fifth obstacle, requiring medical attention for over 10 minutes before being fitted with a neck brace and stretchered off the track.
Pearson looked in determined mood right from the outset, dominating her heat to take it in 12.71 seconds from America’s 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson.
“It was a lot of fun out there,” said Pearson, whose Olympic triumph came in the same stadium.
“I was pretty nervous because it has been a while since I’ve done a championship race but I felt comfortable.
“I feel I have more to give, so I’m intrigued to see what I can do.”
Pearson, a two-time Commonwealth champion, admitted she had thought her championship days were over, especially after a hamstring injury ruled her out of the defense of her Olympic title in Rio.
“You go through those thoughts thousands of times but there is something inside you which keeps you going and I’m glad I did,” she said.
Pearson reappeared later on Friday for the semifinals where she faced stiffer opposition and was able to measure herself against American world record holder Kendra Harrison. Pearson cruised into the final in 12.53 seconds, the fastest time of any semi-finalist.
Defending champion Danielle Williams looked silky smooth in her heat, the Jamaican gliding over the hurdles to win in 12.66 seconds ahead of promising German champion Pamela Dutkiewicz.
Williams, 24, issued a warning to her rivals saying she was in better shape and had improved as a competitor since winning the gold in Beijing in 2015.
“I don’t focus on causing an ‘upset’ here,” she said.
“If I win, I deserve it. I’ve learned from the mistakes I made last year.
“Not making Rio was a big motivator for me.
“I’m stronger and faster than I was in Beijing but I’ve just had to be patient.”
Jamaica — who have had a below-par championships — looked to have a strong hand in the event and their national champion Megan Simmonds impressed in her heat, leading from the gun to ease home in 12.78 seconds ahead of America’s Olympic silver medallist Nia Ali. But Williams failed to qualify for the finals, finishing her semi in fifth place.
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