New­comer Rollins reels in Pear­son for hur­dles gold

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By REUTERS in Moscow

Bri­anna Rollins an­swered any ques­tions about her abil­ity to per­form on the big stage when she de­throned 100m hur­dles queen Sally Pear­son to win gold at the world cham­pi­onships on Satur­day.

Rollins, Amer­ica’s new kid on the block who cel­e­brates her 22nd birth­day on Sun­day, had a ter­ri­ble start and was last out of the blocks. But she drew level with de­fend­ing cham­pion Pear­son of Aus­tralia by the ninth bar­rier and edged ahead over the fi­nal hur­dle to win in 12.44 sec.

Pear­son, who has had a dif­fi­cult sea­son af­ter two ham­string in­juries this year, fin­ished sec­ond in 12.50.

Tiffany Porter of Bri­tain was quick­est out of the blocks and ran well to fin­ish third in a per­sonal best of 12.55.

Rollins grabbed head­lines in June at the US cham­pi­onships when she won in 12.26, the fastest time since 1992. But her ab­sence from the Di­a­mond League cir­cuit led Pear­son to ques­tion how the young Amer­i­can would cope in the cham­pi­onship arena.

The 26- year- old Pear­son found out first hand, im­me­di­ately real­iz­ing at the fin­ish she had lost her ti­tle.

She was first to con­grat­u­late Rollins, eas­ily iden­ti­fi­able in her red, white and blue headband and still look­ing at the big screen in the sta­dium for con­fir­ma­tion of the win.

“I tried not to panic; I know I had a very ter­ri­ble start,” Rollins told a me­dia con­fer­ence.

“I just tried to stay fo­cused on my own lane and my own 10 hur­dles and fin­ish strong,” added the stu­dent from Clem­son Univer­sity in South Carolina, which boasts 2004 Olympic 200m cham­pion Shawn Craw­ford among its alumni.

While Rollins was hit­ting the head­lines ear­lier in the sea­son with her eye- catch­ing time, Pear­son, who has dom­i­nated the tech­ni­cal event in re­cent years, was just re­turn­ing from a sec­ond ham­string in­jury.

Famed for her smooth hur­dling ac­tion, Pear­son suf­fered de­feats in three of her four Di­a­mond League races but af­ter fi­nally win­ning in Lon­don last month she was con­fi­dent of be­ing up to form for the world cham­pi­onships.

The 26-year-old set a sea­son’s best in each of her three races in Moscow but at the mo­ment of truth was not quite good enough.

“I’m sat­is­fied. It’s not gold, but it’s the best I could pro­duce tonight,” she said. “In July, oth­ers were smash­ing me, tonight I was only beaten by one.

“I came here believ­ing I could win the world cham­pi­onships — and, hey, I wasn’t far off it,” she said with a slight smile.

“I’m com­ing into shape now so I’m look­ing for­ward to my last few races to see what I can run.”

YURI KADOBNOV / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Bri­anna Rollins of the US wins the 100m hur­dles fi­nal ahead of Aus­tralia’s Sally Pear­son in Moscow on Satur­day.

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