Australian hurdling great Sally Pearson won the 100 metres hurdles world title for the second time on Saturday in the same stadium where she clinched 2012 Olympic gold.
The 30-year-old timed 12.59 seconds to take the crown ahead of 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson (12.63sec) with Germany’s Pamela Dutkiewicz, a surprise third in 12.72.
It was a remarkable comeback for the Australian as she had suffered two years of injury hell missing both the 2015 world championships and the Olympics last year.
“Far out, that was bloody hard,” gasped Pearson, who became only the fourth woman to win the world title more than once.
“I was so tired. I don’t know what to say, that was just incredible. It was like Beijing in 2008 (she won a surprise Olympic silver) when I didn’t come in as one of the favourites.
She added: “I have no idea where my mum is sitting. If anyone sees Anne McLellan tell her to come down here so I can give her a hug!”
Pearson, whose English mother brought her up as a single parent and in very straitened circumstances, taking two jobs so her daughter could realise her dream, said it had been a long and hard road back to the top.
“It’s been a long journey back from injury, but to get this moment and go and celebrate in front of my family is unreal,” said Pearson, who feared when she suffered a bone explosion in her wrist in 2015 that she might have to have her hand amputated.
“My husband (school sweetheart Kieran) is in the crowd there somewhere, I’ll try and find him and give him a hug soon. This is just so incredible to be a world champion again.”
Harper-Nelson proved that age is no barrier to success as at 33 she enjoyed a second wind in her career.
“Silver tastes like gold tonight,” she said. “I am really excited to come out of this with a medal for the U.S.
“At the end, I could see Sally had won and I thought ‘it’s me and Sally again (like in Beijing in 2008)’.”
World record holder Kendra Harrison disappointed in finishing only fourth confirming that her Achilles heel is a lack of championship experience having failed to make the Olympic team last year.
Harrison had blasted out of the blocks but faded as Pearson arrived on her shoulder and the Australian hurdled to a famous victory.
An overjoyed Pearson jumped up and down to celebrate her win — she was then picked up by the championships mascot Hero the Hedgehog and swung around before he carried her off round the track.
“I don’t know if it was surprise or what,” said Pearson of her exuberant celebration.
“But the emotion just escaped my body because I was so excited and so happy to have achieved what I have worked so hard for.”
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