OLYMPIC 100m hurdles champion Sally Pearson assuaged some of the fears that she may toil to defend her Commonwealth title later this month with third place at the Diamond League at Hampden but the Australian senses she is still short of her imperious best.
It has been a year of challenges for the 27-year-old, whose troublesome hamstrings have been a factor in a series of uncharacteristic defeats on the European circuit.
Beaten here by American pair Queen Harrison and Lolo Jones, Pearson’s time of 12.87 seconds was a step forward, at least, with a bonus of finishing one place ahead of Britain’s Tiffany Porter, likely to be her main foe when they both return.
Hard graft, she conceded, will be required to maintain that advantage when a bigger prize is at stake.
“I’ve not raced a lot and before then I need to get as many races and as much training in as I possibly can,” she said. There’s one in Switzerland next week, then it’s back to training in Tonbridge.
“The Commonwealths will be tough because Tiffany is in such great form. The Games are very important. It’s vital for me to show the people back home in Australia watching on TV just how important the Games are for our sport and how great our sport is.”
Others laying down markers included the world 800m record holder David Rudisha with the Kenyan producing the quickest time of 2014 to confirm his recovery from injury, while Trinidad & Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye won the 100m in 11.01 seconds to enhance her status as the favourite for Commonwealth gold.
Jodie Williams, the 20-year-old sprinting prospect, delivered the quickest time by a British woman for a decade in coming fourth in the 200m in 22.60.
Heptathlon specialist Dafne Schippers delivered a Dutch record to claim victory ahead of the USA’s Olympic champion Allyson Felix and Nigeria’s world bronze medallist Blessing Okagbare.
“When I saw I was in the mix coming around the bend,” Williams revealed, “I just thought, ‘you can do this Jodie’.
“I felt at home racing against these girls which is a really incredible feeling.”