Sport Athletics Sally Pearson triumphs in Manchester to a battered city’s cheers

Sally Pearson triumphs in Manchester to a battered city’s cheers

It's a close race, but judged against the achievements of Cathy Freeman and Betty Cuthbert, she wins by a whisker. AAP
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Olympic and world champion Sally Pearson has won the 100m hurdles at the Great City Games in Manchester, cheered by a near-capacity crowd of locals rising above the horror of this week’s suicide bombing.

Pearson said the atmosphere was fantastic, with a crowd of 20,000 watching on in Albert Square and Deansgate.

“I think the English are a bit like the Australians and we’re pretty resilient – we want to get out there and show the world that we’re here, we’re strong and we’re standing together,” she said.

“I wasn’t expecting anything less, to be honest.”

The street meet took place just four days after 22 people were killed and another 116 injured by a suicide bomber at a concert by US pop star Ariana Grande in the northern English city.

There was a minute’s silence before the event for the victims of Monday’s attack.

On a specially laid track in the city centre, Pearson hurdled the 100m cource in 12.81 seconds and also finished a close second in the flat 100m behind Britain’s Asha Philip.

“It was good to get second and then win the hurdles – but the hurdles was so rusty,” said Pearson.

“I know I haven’t raced since April 2 so I shouldn’t be too disappointed, but we’re athletes and we always want more.

“A win’s a win and you take it, but times for me mean more than anything.”

“It was nice to feel that out there and everyone being very supportive.”