O'Rourke through to 60M Hurdles semi-finals

Derval O'Rourke is through to tomorrow's semi-finals at the World Indoor Championships.

Derval O'Rourke is through to tomorrow's semi-finals at the World Indoor Championships.

O'Rourke survived a potential false start drama and half an hour of waiting as the 2006 champion eventually progressed through to tomorrow evening's semi-finals at 3.10pm (Irish time).

O'Rourke, in the outside eighth lane, was put off by a flying start in lane six by the Trinidad and Tobago athlete Aleesha Barber, and after a slow reaction time of 0.287 seconds - twice the time it took race winner Sally Pearson to get out of the blocks - found herself trailing at the first hurdle.

The Leevale hurdler, competing in her first World Indoor Championships since winning the world title six years ago, recovered quickly but was still edged out of the three automatic qualifying positions, as third-placed Nikita Holder of Canada - in the lane alongside - dipped for the line four-hundredths of a second quicker than the Corkonian.

O'Rourke had to watch and wait for the other three heats to be concluded before the confirmation came that she was through as the fastest loser of the four to be given a second chance.

But the Olympic hopeful was still edgy after her race: "I was only just fourth. That's life.

"I thought there was a false start. I got out and held back a little bit, as I thought we were going to be called back, but it wasn't.

"In 60 metres hurdles, it's hard to get that momentum back. That's life, that's racing."

Having run a season's best 8.16 heading into Istanbul, O'Rourke was looking to improve on that time in the first round - instead she fell short of the year's mark by three-hundredths, and was not happy about that: "No, it's terrible. I'm much better than that, so I have to do better."

Outdoor world champion Sally Pearson won in a continental record time of 7.85 seconds, a full 23-hundredths clear of former European indoors champion Eline Berings of Belgium in second - and perhaps Susanna Kallur's world record of 7.68 set four years ago is under serious threat in tomorrow's semis and final.

Pearson also had thoughts along O'Rourke's lines: "A false start? I hesitated but did not stop, it was quite confusing. Are there two guns or is there an echo?

"Despite my hesitation at the start, I still ran an excellent time and the good thing for the semis is that there is more left."

Berings also concurred: "We don't know where the gun comes from. It's not like a bang. After a metre or so, I thought: 'Oh no, a false start.', but since there was no recall, I just gave full speed."

O'Rourke's Florida-based Leevale clubmate Ciarán Ó Lionáird didn't get out of his semi-final of the men's 1500m, coming home 11th out of the twelve starters.

Ó Lionáird ran his normal race for the first few laps, keeping in the middle of the action, but on falling towards the back of the bunch in the closing 600m, was unable to find the kind of momentum that elevated him to tenth spot at the outdoor World Championships in Daegu last year.

His time of 3:50.12 was originally credited as a personal best by the IAAF, but Athletics Ireland later confirmed he had run a faster time in 2008.

Two gold medals are decided this evening - in the men's shot putt and pentathlon, where a short time ago, Jessica Ennis was leading Lithuanian Austra Skujyte by 87 points.

Ben Reynolds of Down is Ireland's third competitor, and competes in the men's 60m hurdles heats tomorrow morning at 7:40am Irish time.

Natalia Dobrynska of Ukraine needed a world record to beat Jessica Ennis in the pentathlon.

Despite finishing behind Ennis in the final event, the 800m, Dobrynska had enough staying power to follow-up a fine long-jump display by scoring the best five-event haul ever – 5,013 points.

Ennis had originally been credited with a Championship record 4,965, until Dobrynska’s score came in.

The USA won the first men’s gold – via Ryan Whiting in the men’s shot putt ahead of German David Storl and Pole Tomasz Majewski.

Ben Reynolds of Down is Ireland's third competitor, and competes in the men's 60m hurdles heats tomorrow morning at 7:40am Irish time.

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