Sally Pearson and a rising American star who is shaping as the Australian’s greatest threat at the upcoming world athletics championships have both recorded impressive 100m hurdles victories.
Racing outside Australia for the first time this year, Pearson claimed victory at the Golden Grand Prix meet in Japan on Sunday in 12.66 seconds, her second fastest effort of 2015.
But half a world away at the Jamaica Invitational meet, American Jasmin Stowers moved to 10th on the all-time list after scorching to victory in 12.39 in Kingston.
Only three times in her career has Pearson run quicker than Stowers’ flying effort – most recently her gold medal-winning effort of 12.35 at the 2012 London Olympics.
Having twice smashed her PB with 12.40 last month in Des Moines, Iowa, and now the 12.39 in Jamaica, the 23-year-old Stowers has shot into gold medal contention for August’s world championships in Beijing.
Pearson won the world title in 2011 in Daegu and was second to another American, Brianna Rollins, two years ago in Moscow.
Pearson and Stowers are set to go head to head in the season-opening Diamond League meet in Doha on Friday evening (early Saturday AEST).
The stacked field in Doha also includes 2008 Olympic champ Dawn Harper-Nelson from the US and Britain’s Tiffany Porter, who sits in second spot behind Stowers on the 2015 rankings.
In other Australian action at the Golden Grand prix meet in Kawasaki, Lauren Wells won the 400m hurdles in 56.19.
Brooke Stratton was third in the long jump with 6.46m and national record holder Melissa Breen was fifth in the women’s 100m in 11.49.