Sport Athletics Sally Pearson blitzes in hurdles, despite scare

Sally Pearson blitzes in hurdles, despite scare

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Olympic champion Sally Pearson overcame a minor hamstring scare to post a blitzing time in the 100m hurdles on Saturday night at the Perth Track Classic.

But two-times Olympic champion Felix Sanchez endured a disappointing outing, with the 36-year-old battling a quad injury on the way to a shock fifth place finish in the 400m men’s hurdles.

Pearson, whose 2013 campaign was blighted by hamstring problems, was slated to compete in both the 100m sprint and hurdles in Perth.

But the 27-year-old pulled out of her sprint battle with Melissa Breen on the advice of her physio.

Pearson underwent a MRI scan on Friday just to make sure there wasn’t anything wrong.

After being given the all-clear, Pearson posted an impressive time of 12.59sec against a 0.2 head wind in her first competitive hurdle of the year.

“It’s such a relief,” Pearson said.

“I was really worried coming into here – that’s why I pulled out of the 100m sprint. I don’t think my hamstring’s ready to do the double.

“I’ve got the World Indoor Championships in two weeks, and that’s the most important thing.

“I’d rather win a gold medal than run a 100m here. I really want to regain my title.

“But I was devastated to pull out of that 100m.”

Breen, who set a new Australian record in the 100m sprint earlier this month with a time of 11.11sec., cruised to victory in Perth with a time of 11.31sec.

Sanchez felt his quad tighten up after jumping the first hurdle, prompting him to ease up.

The London Games champion finished more than three seconds behind New Zealand’s Michael Cochrane, who won in 49.72sec.

Javelin star Kim Mickle fell short in her bid to set a new Australian record, but she still won with a throw of 63.37m.

Mickle was just 68cm short of the national record of 66.80m last week, but she was still happy with her performance in Perth.

World champion American LaShawn Merritt won the 400m with a time of 45.90sec.

In the women’s 1500m, Australia’s finalist from last year’s World Championships Zoe Buckman was run down in the final 30m by the Netherlands’ Susan Kuijken, who won with a time of 4:07.21.

Kenyan James Magut became the fifth person to break the four-minute mile in Perth when he won the event in 3:53.73.

Victorian Collis Birmingham (3:54.92) and Ireland’s Paul Robinson (3:59.56) also cracked the four-minute barrier.