Sally Pearson (Qld) has made a triumphant return to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, clocking 12.48 (w: +0.2) to place a narrow second behind world record holder Kendra Harrison (USA, 12.35) at the IAAF Diamond League in London (GBR).
Clocking 12.71 (w: 0.0) to win her heat and progress to the round-of-eight, Pearson was strong from the outset in the final to cross in her fourth fastest time ever and the quickest she has run since winning gold at the 2012 Olympic Games.
“I felt I good shape. My times and my sprints have been improving but I had to prove to myself that I could do it so it was really nice to get that run out today,” Pearson told the IAAF.
“I was trying to make that strong field a motivation rather than a distraction today. I said to myself just go with them and you’ll be alright, so I did. It is fantastic to be back on this track. It is awesome to be back. I have to thank the crowd."
Pearson was one of many great performances by the green and gold in London, including a world championships qualifier to Brooke Stratton (Vic, long jump), as well as personal best results to Patrick Tiernan (Qld, 3000m), Sam McEntee (WA, 3000m), Linden Hall (Vic, mile), Kelsey-Lee Roberts (ACT, javelin).
In just her third jumping competition this year, Brooke Stratton (Vic) has shown she has lost none of the ability that saw her reach the Olympic final in Rio last year, soaring a season's best of 6.79m (w: -0.6).
Placing third in the world class field of nine, Stratton's three jumps of 6.45m, 6.79m and 6.49m ensures her name will be in front of selectors ahead of the IAAF World Championships next month.
The result is Stratton's third best ever following her remarkable 2015/2016 season that saw the Victorian take the Australian record with a jump of 7.05m in Perth.
Stratton’s start in London continues her return from injury, with her season opening leap of 6.57m in Townsville last month followed by a 6.55m jump at the Gyulai Istvan Memorial last week.
"It has been very tough with minimal preparation leading into this European block," Stratton said before the competition.
“I am confident I can do it and I feel like each competition is getting technically better, it’s all about believing you can do it.”
On the track in the men’s 3000m, personal bests followed Tiernan and McEntee as the two Australians clocked 7:37.76 and 7:41.03 to place 4th and 10th respectively behind victor and home town favourite Mo Farah (GBR, 7:35.15).
Tiernan’s time ensures the Queenslander's impeccable 2017 remains intact after his five races on the track this year have resulted in five personal best performances.
Last week the Villanova graduate ran 7:39.28 at the IAAF Diamond League in Paris (FRA), while McEntee now moves to 5th on the Australian All-Time List after improving his fastest ever time by seven seconds.
In the women's mile, Linden Hall also saw improvement, crossing the line in a four second personal best of 4:23.96 to place ninth. It's the third time this year Hall has run a personal best over the four-lap race.
The fastest time by an Australian woman over the mile in ten years, Hall now moves up to third place on the Australian All-Time best ever performances, and just 0.56 seconds behind her former coach and mentor Sarah Jamieson's best ever time.
In the field, Kelsey-Lee Roberts also made consecutive personal best performances after improving her best mark for the women’s javelin by 22cm to reach 64.38m to place fifth.
Roberts, who also equalled her personal best at the IAAF Diamond League in Lausanne (SUI) on Thursday, threw distances of 61.99m, 63.76m, 58.42m, 62.4m and 62.67m in her six throw series.
Kathryn Mitchell (Vic) placed one spot behind her in sixth, with a best mark of 63.25m.
The men’s 4x100m relay team of Nick Andrews (NSW), Tom Gamble (Qld), Trae Williams (Qld) and Alex Hartmann (Qld) also tasted success, running 39.08, a season best, to take victory from Portugal (39.29) and England (39.35).
In other results at the IAAF Diamond League in London (GBR):
- Ryan Gregson (Vic) ran 3:35.17 to place 4th behind winner Chris O’Hare (GBR, 3:34.75) in the men’s 1500m, with Jordan Williamsz (Vic) and Luke Mathews (Vic) clocking 3:37.15 and 3:40.86 respectively.
- Narrowly missing the qualifier for London 2017, Nicholas Hough (NSW) ran 13.56 (w: -0.4) in the heat of the men’s 110m hurdles and did not progress to the final.
Competition at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park capped off a big weekend of Australian athletics, with competition in Sotteville (FRA) and Kortijk (BEL) welcoming the green and gold alongside the Down Under Championships on the Gold Coast (Qld).
Duelling in the women’s 400m, Morgan Mitchell (Vic) and Anneliese Rubie (NSW) ran 52.49 and 53.56 respectively in the women’s one-lap race at the Meeting International, as Liz Parnov (WA) cleared 4.30m in the women’s pole vault to open her international season. Joseph Deng (Vic) led the Australian results at the Guldensporenmeeting, running a personal best 1:46.51 to win the men’s 800m.
At the Down Under Championships, Damien Birkinhead (Vic) threw 20.79m to ensure his building confidence before competition in Europe ahead of the Team Australia Preparation Camp in Tonbridge (GBR), while Dani Stevens (NSW) hurled the discus 64.35m to take victory in the women’s open event.
The IAAF Diamond League now moves to Rabat (MAR) on 16 July 2017, with the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to welcome athletes for the World Para-Athletics Championships from 14 July 2017. With 37 members, Team Australia has recently arrived in the host city this past weekend.
For more information on the IAAF Diamond League in Rabat (MAR), please click here.
For more information on the World Para-Athletics Championships, including entry lists and the timetable, please click here.