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Day Nine: Pearson starts final as fastest qualifier

Saturday, 12 August 2017 | Athletics Australia

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Sally Pearson will take her mark in lane four, next to the world record holder Kendra Harrison (USA) as she starts the 100m hurdles final on the same track she won Olympic gold on in London five years ago.

Since then the 30-year-old has endured a string of serious injuries that have left her on the sidelines for the last world championships and the 2016 Olympics.

Despite those setbacks, the 2011 world champion is back in world-class form and qualified for the final with the fastest time of 12.53 (+0.9), clearly winning her semi-final.

Pearson ran her personal best of 12.28 to win that title in Daegu, which is the national record, and has been within the realm of her absolute best in recent times. 

World record holder Harrison, who relied on her time in the semi-finals to qualify for the final after finishing third in heat three, has a patchy performance in big races.

Following a blazing 12.24 in Europe Harrison was unable to perform to her best when she placed sixth in the 2016 US Olympic trials, before going on to break the world record with a run of 12.20 while three of her teammates prepared for Rio.

The Australian has a season’s best of 12.48 set at the London Diamond League meeting, which is the third fastest time this year behind Harrison and Jasmin Stowers (USA) who is not one of the four Americans in the final.

Only Pearson and Harrison have gone under 12.50 this season out of the eight finalists which includes 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper Nelson (USA), who placed second to Pearson at the 2012 Games in London.

Harper Nelson reaches the final in good form winning her semi in a season’s best 12.63 (+0.2).

 

In the men’s 5000m there is a comeback story for an Australian on a smaller scale involving Patrick Tiernan who dramatically turned his world championships campaign around in a few days.

The 22-year-old landed in London with big expectations after a breakout season like no other, but was left deflated and disappointed with his performance in the 10,000m on day one placing 22nd and a long way off the pace.

The former Villanova student proved that was merely an unforseen hiccup as he ran confidently in the lead pack during his heat of the 5000m and closed well to place fourth and secure an auto-qualifying spot in the final.

This season he has set personal bests this year from the 1500m to 10,000m including a 13:13.44 for the 5000m which put him fourth all-time on the Australian rankings.

The 2016 NCAA cross country champion will be in the field with defending champion Mo Farah (GBR) who will receive raucous support from the home British crowd in his final track race at a global championships.

Ethiopian Muktar Edris is the fastest man in the world this year with a time of 12:55.23 – only him and countryman Selemon Barega have broken the 13-minute barrier in 2017.

When you come out of a lactic coma just in time for a photo 😌📸 #TeamAus #London2017

A post shared by Anneliese Rubie (@annelieserubie) on

 

Day nine of the championships also features the heats of the women’s 4x400m relay, which will include Anneliese Rubie, Ella Connolly, Lauren Wells and Morgan Mitchell.

The Aussies have a season’s best of 3:28.80 with two runners in Mitchell and Rubie both members of the team that compete in the Rio Olympic final last year.

Heat one will see Australia compete with the United States who has a best time of 3:23.13 this year.

Earlier in the day the men’s 4x100m relay featuring Trae Williams, Tom Gamble, Nick Andrews and Rohan Browning will compete for a spot in the final that will be run later in the night.

The team has a season’s best of 39.08 seconds and will be doing their best to chase Great Britain (38.08 SB) and the United States (38.17 SB).

Continuing in the decathlon will be Cedric Dubler who is placed 18th overall on 4070 points after five events and just 150 outside the top ten.

On day eight he placed eighth overall in the 400m clocking a season’s best of 48.31 at the end of a big afternoon of competition.

With a top-ten finish still in his sights Dubler will be eyeing a few more season’s bests in the 110m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin or 1500m.

A total of eight men have already withdrawn from the event leaving 27 left to compete on day two of the decathlon.

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