By Christian Radnedge
LONDON (Reuters) – Former Olympic 100 meters hurdles champion Sally Pearson continued her remarkable comeback from injury by qualifying fastest for the World Championship final as defending champion Danielle Williams failed to progress on Friday.
Australian Pearson has endured a frustrating two years, missing the 2015 championships in Beijing and the Olympics last year due to serious injuries.
However, the 30-year-old showed her determination to reclaim the title she first won in 2011 by destroying the field to win the opening heat in 12.53 seconds ahead of American Nia Ali.
“I haven’t come here to come second,” Pearson told reporters. “I’m just happy to be going through the rounds and feeling good; it’s a matter of doing it to my own art.”
American Christina Manning won the second heat in 12.71 ahead of Alina Talay of Belarus, who won bronze in 2015.
But there was no place in the final for Jamaican Williams, who came fifth in her semi in 13.14, not even fast enough to go through via one of the non-automatic places.
American Dawn Harper Nelson, who won gold at the 2008 Olympics, recorded a season’s best mark of 12.63 to win the last heat and qualify along with Germany’s Pamela Dutkiewicz.
Favorite Harrison clipped seven hurdles on her way to a third-place finish, although her time of 12.86 was just enough to put her into Saturday’s final through the non-automatic spots.
But the 24-year-old, who set her world record time in London last year, was not worried by her performance.
“I made the final so I’m just glad to have got through. I think that first little hiccup threw me off, but I just tried to make it through,” Harrison said.
“I’m excited for the final, it’s my first one, and I’m ready to come out here and get the job done.
“Unfortunately, I hit the first hurdle and I just had to readjust. I had to tell myself not to panic because I’ve done the training. I’ve run the world record in this stadium so I was capable of making up for the error. I didn’t hurt myself so I’m fine.”
(Editing by Ed Osmond)