With the Athletic World Championships in Daegu the time zone makes it a bit difficult for us Lancastrians to capture the action as it happens. One event I did manage to catch was the women’s 100 metre hurdles.
It has to be said that this event has had its fair share of drama over the years. After a period of Eastern European domination we have shared the ups and downs of some fine athletes who were favourites to win but stumbled (literally) in the final.
It would take a hard heart not feel sorry for Perdita Felicien who in the 100m final at the Athens Olympics hit the first hurdle so hard that she careered into the path of the Russian competitor and promptly ended the race for both of them.
Moving on four years to the Beijing Olympics and there was a new favourite but the story was the same. The likeable Lolo Jones was leading but hit one of the latter hurdles only to finish 7th.
As a technical event the 100 metre hurdles is the ultimate all in bet. There is no time for a second chance and a stumble or hesitation cannot be recovered. It requires a near perfect performance every time.
If the stress of such an event was not enough Aussie Sally Pearson had further problems to contend with. As a stand out favourite for 100 metres hurdles she had featured on the cover of the event programme, the problem being that previous high-profile athletes to be similarly featured had largely disappointed. In commentary boxes there were various mutterings about the curse of the cover.
We needn’t have been worried. Pearson led from start to finish with one of those performances which stays in the mind of dedicated athletics followers. In the fourth fastest time ever of 12.28 seconds, Pearson demolished the field with what was a flawless performance.
In the subsequent interview a delighted Pearson was asked to autograph the programme by the Channel interviewer. When reminded of the curse, Pearson responded “Do you know what, stuff the bloody curse. I’ve worked too hard to let that stop me”
Not bad. It’s a good day’s work to win an event in the World Championships and give the best post race interview in memory.