Australia’s premiere athlete, Sally Pearson, has one more shot to strike fear into her Commonwealth rivals ahead of her Games title defence in Glasgow.
The reigning Olympic 100m hurdles champion claimed a big scalp, but not the slick time she was craving, in relegating reigning American world champion Brianna Rollins to third spot at the Spitzen Leichtathletik meet in Lucerne on Tuesday night.
Pearson’s second-placed effort of 12.90 seconds behind American race winner Kristi Catlin (12.81) in a race run into a slight headwind was short of expectations.
But she will compete again before heading into the Games village, having made a last-ditch decision to race in London on Sunday.
Pearson’s Commonwealth Games build-up has been hampered by a hamstring complaint, causing her to pull out of Diamond League meets in Rome and New York last month.
Her time in Lucerne was marginally slower than recent efforts in Paris (12.89) and Glasgow (12.87) – all of which are a world away from her personal best of 12.28 at the 2011 world titles and the 12.35 she clocked to win Olympic gold in London two years ago.
The last four Commonwealth titles have been won with runs of 12.77 or better.
But Pearson remains the hot title favourite in Glasgow, especially as her leading Commonwealth rivals are hardly flying at the moment either.
The 2013 world championships bronze medallist Tiffany Porter of Britain was beaten by the Australian in Glasgow last weekend.
Canadian veteran Angela Whyte’s best time this year of 12.89 was set back in April, while none of the three Jamaicans in the Commonwealth Games squad – Monique Morgan, Indira Spence and Danielle Williams – has broken 12.90 in 2014.
The first round of the Commonwealth Games 100m hurdles is on July 31.
The overall times in the sprint events in Lucerne were far from spectacular, although Michelle-Lee Ahye claimed another victory in the women’s 100m.
The Trinidadian – who boasts the fastest time in the world this year – won in 11.09 and shapes as the woman to beat in the women’s blue riband sprint in Glasgow.
Two other Commonwealth athletes, Kemar Hyman from the Cayman Islands and Jamaican Julian Forte, clocked the fastest times of 10.23 in the men’s 100m, with former world record holder Asafa Powell from Jamaica stopping the clock at 10.30.
Powell was racing for the first time in a year after having a doping ban cut from 18 months to six months on Sunday.
Fast-improving Alex Rowe was the standout Australian performer in Lucerne, winning the 800m in one minute 45.73 seconds, with countryman Jeff Riseley third in 1:46.23.
The prize for Rowe was a late call-up to Friday night’s prestigious Herculis Diamond League meet in Monte Carlo, where he will square off against world record holder David Rudisha from Kenya.
“Great to get the win tonight! But even more exciting is that I’ll be running in the Monaco Diamond,” tweeted the 21-year-old Rowe, who will get a great chance in Monte Carlo to again lower a personal best of 1:44.74 set earlier this month in Belgium.
Lauren Wells was fifth in the women’s 400m hurdles in 55.98 and Liz Parnov was seventh in the pole vault with a best clearance of 4.20m.