DERVAL O’ROURKE put the finishing touches to another successful season with an impressive if not spectacular performance at the IAAF/VTB Bank Continental Cup in Split yesterday when she finished fifth in the 100m hurdles in 12.99 secs.
The European silver medallist finished just behind the European champion, Nevin Yanit (Turkey), who was fourth in 12.84 secs. They were both representing Europe in what was formerly the World Cup.
With five of the current world top 10 performers in the field it was always going to be a close race and just three hundredths of a second eventually separated the top three.
Olympic silver medallist, Sally Pearson (Australia), edged out the world indoor champion, Lolo Jones (USA) by just one hundredth of a second to win in 12.65 secs.
Representing Asia-Pacific, Pearson blasted out of the blocks after athletes were recalled following a faulty start and left the remainder of the field playing catch up.
While the Americas duo of Jones and the former world indoor and outdoor champion, Perdita Felicien (Canada), closed up they could not catch the Australian who was in the lane between them.
Pearson just held off the American on the dip to win in 12.65 secs to 12.66 secs. Unfortunately for Team Europe neither Nevin Yanit nor Derval O’Rourke could make up the ground gained by Pearson.
At the age of 19 Pearson finished fourth at the 2006 World Cup in Athens and now becomes the first Oceania athlete ever to win the 100m hurdles in this event and the $30,000 first prize.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “I came here to win and I did it. I’m going home with $30,000 and since I’m looking for a new house, it’s a good day’s work, it will help me.”
O’Rourke who was handed the honour of representing Europe following the European championships in Barcelona was appearing in the competition for the first time and picked up $5,000 (€3,877) for fifth place.
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