Coach backs favourite Pearson

Not content with posting the fastest 100m hurdles heat run in Olympic history, Sally Pearson is expecting even faster times ahead.



Not content with posting the fastest 100m hurdles heat run in Olympic history, Sally Pearson is expecting even faster times ahead.

The Australian gold medal favourite and world champion with an emphatic time on 12:57 seconds.

"(I'm) pretty excited. I thought I'd run faster today, but obviously I did not need to," The Beijing silver medallist told Channel Nine.

"I am just glad that is over. I was pretty nervous, but this crowd is unbelievable. Everyone was cheering. They just pull you through."

Pearson's coach, Sharon Hannan, was equally worked up on the sidelines.

"I turned to the Doc in the athletes seating area and said 'I need a pacemaker'. My heart was feeling really weird this morning I tell you," Hannan said.

"Once she got going I was comfortable and I knew she was going to be fine."

Photos: London Olympics in a blur

Hannan says the London stadium heat run compares well to Pearson's first round heat in Daegu last year where she went on to win the world title.

"Sally was particularly happy (with the time)," she said.

"In Daegu, she ran 53 in the heats and it was quite a hot track. A hot track is a fast track. This morning, the sun was there and she has gone in there and the track was still quite cool, but yeah real comparable. (We're) very happy."

'Really good shape'

The two-time Olympian has been one of Australia's strongest gold medal prospects for some time.

While some Australian athletes have spoken of the pressure of being at the Olympics, Pearson's coach says the hurdler is focused on the job at hand.

Photos: Usain Bolt wins the 100m gold medal

"Sally is about racing for Sally and for athletics and for Australia. Not about what anyone else is doing," Hannah said.

"She's been the favourite for some time. I guess certainly she is only a tenth ahead of the girls, whereas in Daegu she was quite clearly more than two-tenths ahead of the girls, but I have no concerns. She is going to be fine."

The USA's Lolo Jones was the next fastest qualifier in the 100m hurdles with 12.68 secs, while fellow American Kellie Wells came in on 12.69 secs.

Another rival, Jamaican Brigitte Foster-Hylton, did not make it through to the semi-finals after stumbling in the race.

Hannan says is expecting Pearson's opening heat statement will be repeated.

"We have been making them all along. Nothing has happened for us to think otherwise. She is in really, really good shape, so we are happy with where she is at."

Join us Wednesday on FANGO for live chat, polls, trivia and more as Sally Pearson hurdles for gold.

Olympic events on FANGO:

Wednesday, August 8, 3.50am: Sally Pearson and the 100m hurdles.

Download FANGO here.