OSLO (AFP) –
Australian Sally Pearson equalled her own world leading time of 12.49 seconds in a dominant display over the 100m hurdles at the Diamond League meet here on Thursday.
The world champion overcame a false start by British heptathlete Jessica Ennis to power home 0.07sec ahead of American Kristi Castlin, with US-born Briton Tiffany Porter taking third (12.70).
“I travelled 29 hours to get here, I’m a bit jet-lagged but I’m doing well,” the 25-year-old Pearson said.
“I like being chased, it keeps me hungry. I’m not feeling the pressure because I’m feeling confident.”
Pearson added: “Technically it was okay and it was only in the last part of the race that I felt tired.
“I still have three races until the Games. I’ll be staying in Germany and moving to London on July 24.”
The performance bode well for Pearson, who had a season to remember last year, winning all but one of her 11 races, producing seven of the quickest 11 performances and claiming world gold in the fourth fastest time ever run.
The 25-year-old Australian 100m hurdler was rewarded with the IAAF accolade of female athlete of the year, which carries with it a cheque for $100,000.
Early this season, Pearson replicated her blistering form that saw her win gold in Daegu, South Korea, in 12.28sec over the shorter 60m hurdles at the world indoors in Istanbul in March.
The Australian clocked a 12.49sec time in March on home soil, and she had said she’d be happy to match that in her first European outdoor outing.
What remains for Pearson now is the Olympics and a shot at the long-standing 100m hurdles record of 12.21sec, set by Bulgarian Yordanka Donkova way back in 1998.
“The ultimate goal is the Olympic gold medal. After that, when the pressure goes, we can speak about records,” Pearson said
With Australian teammate Steve Hooker battling to regain the form that saw him win golds at the Beijing Olympics and 2009 Berlin world championships, Pearson has emerged as her country’s main medal hope at the London Games.
Pearson negotiated her heat in a sun-basked Bislett Stadium in 12.59sec, ahead of Castlin (12.74), Ennis (12.83) and Lolo Jones (13.04). Canadian Phylicia George, a finalist in Daegu, was disqualified for a false start.
Porter and Danielle Carruthers headed up the second heat ahead of Canada’s Priscilla Lopes-Schliep and Lisa Urech of Switzerland.
But nerves abounded in the final as the start was first delayed by Norway’s Andreas Thorkildsen throwing his final effort in the javelin, and then a false start by Ennis.
Pearson held her nerve for a dominant performance.