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Athletics
World champion Pearson speeds to victory
Australian hurdler Sally Pearson is in top form approaching the Olympics as Caster Semenya plans a low-key build-up.
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2012 21:26
Pearson of Australia sets a blistering time in the 100m hurdles to scare her rivals [GALLO/GETTY]

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.

"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," said Pearson after celebrating victory by skipping and jumping along the track in front of roaring fans in the stands.

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

Sally Pearson

"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 August 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."

While Pearson scares rivals with her speed, former world 800 metres champion Caster Semenya plans to take a "less is more" approach in her build-up to the London Olympics, the South African said on Saturday.

  Semenya celebrates second place in the 800m at world championships in Daegu [GALLO/GETTY] 

"I will be looking for a fast time at the SA champs (South Africa's national championships in Port Elizabeth in April) and will then run maybe three or four races before the Olympics," Semenya told reporters in Bellville, Cape Town.

The 21-year-old, now coached by Maria Mutola, was speaking after making a low-key return to the track, winning her 400 metres race in 53.62 seconds at the inter-provincial meeting.

"I'm on track," Semenya said.

"Today was a good race, I am very happy with where I am and think I could have gone faster if I needed to."

Semenya, who won gold at the 2009 world championships in Berlin and silver at the 2011 edition in Daegu, South Korea, joined forces with Mozambique's Mutola, herself an Olympic and world champion over 800 metres, in October.

"Maria is really good for me," Semenya said.

"She has not changed much in my program, but is really working more on my race tactics and some technique work."

Source:
Agencies
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