Australia’s red-hot Olympic favorite Sally Pearson suffered her first defeat of the season in the 100m hurdles as Games medal hopefuls found the going tough at a cold and wet London Grand Prix on Saturday.
World champion Pearson, winner of 15 of her 16 races last year and unbeaten this year, led until the final two hurdles before she was overhauled by the US’ Kellie Wells, who won in a time of 12.57 seconds. Pearson was two hundredths of a second behind.
“My coach told me to come here and do something today and I think I did it pretty well, I’ll have to go and check with him,” said Wells, who celebrated her victory with a dance on the track, to the delight of the capacity crowd.
There was also a shock in the women’s 100m with Nigerian Blessing Okagbare winning the race in 11.01 seconds, 0.02 ahead of world champion Carmelita Jeter.
Olympic gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce appeared to stumble slightly at the start and finished last, but was philosophical about her performance and refused to blame the wet weather.
“As an athlete you have to take precautionary measures and hope things get better because the Olympics are pretty much on us,” she said. “I don’t think the weather was that bad. I hope that when I go on the track [at the Olympics] there’ll be a lot of sunshine in my lane,” Fraser Pryce told reporters with a smile.
Women’s javelin world-record holder and Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic came off second best to Britain’s Goldie Sayers, who won the event with a national record of 66.17m.
However, the news was less good for Beijing silver medalist Phillips Idowu and high hurdler Tiffany Porter, with both Britons suffering injury scares with a little under three weeks to the start of the athletics at the London Games.
In the Londoner’s absence the US’ triple-jump world champion Christian Taylor had a comfortable win with a best distance of 17.41m.
France’s Christophe Lemaitre won the men’s 200m in a season’s best time of 19.91.
Britain’s Christine Ohuruogu battled through a torrential downpour to overtake world gold medalist Amantle Montsho for victory in the women’s 400m in 50.42.
It was in stark contrast to her “appalling” performance — as the Olympic champion described it at the time — for last place at this meeting last year.
Men’s 400m world champion Kirani James timed his race to perfection, surging to the front off the bend to win in 44.86.
Kenyan Silas Kiplagat burst to the front off the final bend to win the men’s mile in 3:52.44 after the race had been subject to two false starts, which were put down to a technical problem.