MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 03: Sally Pearson of Australia celebrates her win in the 100 Metre Hurdles Open Women during day two of the Melbourne Track Classic/IAAF World Challenge event at Lakeside Stadium on March 3, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 03: Sally Pearson of Australia celebrates her win in the 100 Metre Hurdles Open Women during day two of the Melbourne Track Classic/IAAF World Challenge event at Lakeside Stadium on March 3, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

Pearson sounds warning in Melbourne

By Reuters Time of article published Mar 3, 2012

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Melbourne – Australia's Sally Pearson laid down a marker ahead of the London Olympics by winning the 100 metres hurdles at the Melbourne Track Classic in a scorching 12.49 seconds in drizzly rain on Saturday.

The world champion, a strong contender for gold in London, charged out of the blocks and streaked away from the field to cross more than seven-tenths of a second in front of American Yvette Lewis at Lakeside stadium.

“Holy crap!” the blonde 25-year-old shrieked to a clutch of reporters, after celebrating victory by skipping and jumping along the track in front of roaring fans in the stands.

“It's just really fantastic and really exciting but at the same time I've got to keep grounded, I've got to focus on the London Olympics. That's still a fair way away and there's a lot more training to go.

“I'm in good shape and I'm loving it and I'm just going to look after myself, that's all I can do.

“(My rivals) will probably be worried, but at the same time, there's nothing I can do about that.”

Pearson's time on a damp, spongy track that had absorbed a day's rain improved on her 12.66 at Sydney last week and shows ominous form five months and three days before the hurdles heats kick off on Aug. 6 in London.

It was also the Beijing Olympic silver medallist's fourth fastest time, only bettered by her semi-final and final runs at the Daegu world championships and at a Diamond League meeting in Birmingham last year.

Although appearing flawless in its execution, her 22nd victory in her last 23 races in the event took her by surprise.

“I thought I was going really badly actually. I got halfway through the race and I thought, 'no, no, no, everything's completely off at the moment'.

“I came back and it was so much better than I thought it was going to be.”

Pearson signed off by winning the 200 metres with a time of 23.02, more than nine-tenths of a second ahead of fellow-Australian Hayley Butler.

Pearson, whose 12.28 to win gold in South Korea remains the fourth fastest on record, will continue her Olympic preparations at the world indoor championships in Turkey next week.

Kenyan world champion and world record holder David Rudisha powered away from the field at the turn into the final straight to win the 800m with a time of one minute 44.33 seconds in his first run in his pet event for the year.

Rudisha, favourite to win the 800 gold at London, warmed up with a runnerup performance in the 400 at Sydney last week and was pleased with his condition before he heads back to Kenya to continue training.

“I was moving well, even coming into the last 200, I was feeling really strong, just pushing the last 150,” said the 23-year-old Masai, whose time was more than three seconds shy of his world record.

“Already I know what to do to get good improvement...To go to (London), that will be a tactical race. The important thing is just to prepare mentally and to be strong as to how to tackle the race.”

The meeting doubled as Olympic trials for a number of local hopefuls, and 31-year-old Craig Mottram, a former world bronze medallist, drew a standing ovation after overtaking Collis Birmingham in the final straight to win the 5,000 and qualify for his fourth straight Games.

Australian Dani Samuels, a 2009 world champion, won the discus with a throw of 61.30 metres that fell short of the Olympic qualification benchmark by 70 centimetres. – Reuters

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