CANBERRA, Australia – Sally Pearson won her highly anticipated Australian Athletics Tour showdown at the AIS Athletics Track with rival sprinter Melissa Breen at the Canberra Track Classic and in the process recorded qualifying times for the 2015 IAAF World Championships in both the 100m and 200m, as well as a new personal best in the latter.
The rematch between the pair had been much hyped as they faced off almost a year to the day that local favourite Breen had set a new 100m national record for the short sprint of 11.11. In the process Breen had defeated Olympic 100m hurdles champion Pearson for the first time in her career.
Whilst both downplayed their ability to run fast times tonight due to their heavy training loads, Pearson scorched the track in the 100m to record a time of 11.16 (wind: +1.8) and win the rematch by a little over a metre from Breen, who clocked 11.27.
Both athletes bettered the World Championship qualification standard of 11.33 in the process, with Pearson also clocking the second fastest time of her career.
Pearson and Breen then backed up in the women’s 200m just over an hour later in the climactic event of the meet, and the Queenslander once again took the honours. Pearson broke the tape in 22.97 (+0.8) to break the 23-second barrier for the first time in her storied career, bettering her previous personal best time of 23.02 set in 2009. Breen ran a time of 23.47 to finish in third behind Ella Nelson (NSW), who clocked 23.33.
Despite her new PB, Pearson felt she could have run faster and predicted some big performances in the season ahead.
“Obviously (I’m) happy (with a) PB and second fastest time ever in the 100m,” said Pearson. “I'm not satisfied with the time I ran [in the 200m] because I felt I could go a lot faster. I think we'll see some really fast times this year.
“I want to make sure I come home with the gold medal. It's a very good starting point.”
Despite her success as an athlete, Pearson said she still faced fear every time she lined up.
“Fear's always there, every time I race I'm scared. I think that’s the passion coming out of you, you want it so badly that it scares you if it doesn't go the way you want it to,” she added.
Despite not taking the win in front of her home crowd, Breen said that she was still ecstatic to have registered a World Championship qualifier.
“It’s obviously awesome to have Sal come here, it obviously brought out the best in me,” Breen said. “I ran 11.50 a few weeks ago, so to come out and run 11.27, which is the A qualifier for Worlds is pretty awesome. So yes, I didn’t get the win but I was able to execute a really good race and run 11.27, so I am exceptionally happy.”