Australian hurdling great Sally Pearson's impressive comeback after two years of injury hell continued on Friday as she posted the fastest time in reaching Saturday's 100 metres hurdles final.
Harrison sneaks through
The 30-year-old's sublime run contrasted sharply with America's world record holder Kendra Harrison who sneaked into the final as the slowest of the two fastest losers who qualify. Harrison, who was the 1/6 on favourite for the title and had not been beaten in a race since the US Olympic trials last year, at least made it unlike Jamaica's defending champion Danielle Williams who flopped to finish fifth in her semi-final.
Pearson looked tense and focused before the race, not acknowledging the crowd when her name was called, but was hugely impressive quickly overhauling early leader Jamaican champion Megan Simmonds and opening a sizeable lead. The race was over as a contest as Pearson hurdled impeccably to hit the line in 12.53sec a broad grin spreading across her face and then clenched her fists in celebration. Olympic silver medalist Nia Ali took the second automatic qualifying spot.
Harper-Nelson looking strong
Harrison's problems started as she hit the first hurdle and dropped to seventh and it was only her determination and class that saw her get back into contention to fight her way back to third and just make the final. Victory went to her veteran compatriot Dawn Harper-Nelson, the 33-year-old 2008 Olympic champion looking in remarkable shape as she won the race and then promptly performed a cartwheel in delight.
Ali's compatriot Christine Manning produced a faultless display in her semi to progress in 12.71 sec but the opposite was the case of Williams. The Jamaican, who had looked in great shape in the morning heats, was never at the races after hitting the first hurdle and clattered several more to round off a disappointing defence of her title.