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Frayne and Mottram through to finals

10 March 2012

Sally Pearson (Qld) progressed through to the 60mH semi finals, while Henry Frayne (Qld) and Craig Mottram (Vic) qualified for the long jump and 3000m finals, respectively, on day one of the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.

Pearson impressed in only her second ever indoor hurdles race, with a winning time of 7.85 which made her the only athlete to dip under 8 seconds in round one of qualification.

The 2011 IAAF world athlete of the year said the echo of the starter’s gun, which laid claim to the world leader Kristi Castlin (USA) in the second heat, had almost caught her out. Castlin stopped, thinking it had been a false start, and duly did not finish the race along with Vonette Dixon (JAM). Despite the hesitation Pearson still reacted faster to the gun than any other athlete.

Pearson said: “I was quite disappointed with it because of the hesitation at the start I knew that I had a lot more to give which I guess is a good thing because I guess the semi finals will be faster.

“Everyone is a competitor out there in the hurdles, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.

“I think I can run in the 7.7s, not sure if the low 7s or high 7s but going onthat race, with the hesitation at the start I think I can definitely run mid 7. We’ll see what happens but I definitely have so much more to give.”

In his first ever major championship appearance in the long jump, Frayne opened with 7.77m. On his second attempt he sealed his place in tomorrow night’s final with an effort of 8.02m, and was one of only four athletes to go beyond eight metres. Mauro Vinicius Da Silver(BRA) set a new world-lead of 8.28m.

Frayne said: “I didn’t hit either of those, the first one I was behind stretching out and the second one I had to chop it quite drastically and still hit 8m, so I feel confident that I can add 10cm or 20cm to that.

“I don’t really feel a lot of pressure out there but I was extremely nervous to jump here today. I had a lot of nervous energy going but funnily enough as soon as I got out there I just felt calm. In the past I’d go out there and I’d be standing there shaking on the spot, but today I was calm.”

Mottram capped of a successful afternoon session for Australian athletes with an impressive run in the 3000m. Using his previous world indoor championships experiences, Mottram stayed at the back of the pack and then kicked with three laps to go, to cross the line in second place in 7:49.62.

Edwin Cheruiyot Soi (KEN) won in 7:49.48 and the four fastest losers all came from the same heat, with the winning time of heat two 7:57.49 from Augustine Kiprono Choge (KEN).

Mottram said: “Confidence comes from training and getting the work done and I’ve been slowly building that over a while now.

“I know what happens, I’m 31-years-old, I’ve been running indoors a long time. People make a lot of runs that don’t need to be had. It’s hard work going up the hill and down the hill and pushing each other, so you just sit at the back and make one move when the race starts and end up at the front.

“I’m too big to be in a group like that and I’ve learnt that the hard way on several occasions so I just hang at the back and move when I need to. The race on Sunday might be different.”

In the morning session, Dale Stevenson (Vic) missed out on the shot put final, while Ryan Foster (Tas) finished 10th in heat two of the 1500m.

Making his indoor debut, Stevenson was one of 23 athletes to line-up for qualification and his opening throw of 19.72m had him sat near the all-important eighth position.

Buoyed by a personal best of 20.16m, recorded in Melbourne last weekend, the Commonwealth bronze medallist fouled on his second attempt but was able to improve his mark in the third and final round when he heaved to 19.80m.

Stevenson said: “It’s a disappointing result. I was good enough to make the final, I just didn’t do it. I had a good opener and thought I was in a good position to do what I needed to do, but couldn’t build on it which is unfortunate.

“It was tightly packed, it wouldn’t have taken much to make top eight which makes it a bitter pill to swallow.

“Even in warm-ups today the guys who haven’t seen me for a while were saying ‘you look really good’ and that’s encouraging for me, but you’re only as good as the results you put on the board.

“It makes me hungrier. I’m in a phase in my career now where I’m comfortable in competitions, beating people. I want to be there, I want to be in the final, dropping bombs over the line because that’s what I know I can do.”

Foster, who was also making his IAAF World Indoor Championships debut, went in heat two of the 1500m.

The Tasmanian kept up with the pack for the first few laps, before crossing theline in tenth in 3:46.26.

The fastest 1500m in the world this year, Abdalaati Iguider (MAR), won the heat in 3:38.41 with Mekonnen Gebremedhin (ETH) and Ayanleh Souleiman (DJI) taking the other two automatic qualifying spots from the heat.

Foster said: “The first half was a good experience and then I just died a horrible, horrible, horrible death.

“Athletics Australia did me a huge favour by taking me here, and I’ve been trying to turn it around.

“It’s a tight track, the bends are very tight and the Russian guy (Egor Nikolaev)just kept amping it up and amping it up and I never got comfortable.

“That’s where I want to be, running here. They ran 3:38.40 and I ran 3:40.00 four weeks ago and felt comfortable doing it. But to be honest that was the only good run I’ve had this year.

“There’s a lot of really great stuff I get to take out of this experience. Outside of the race the whole experience has been tremendous. Personally I feel invigorated, in fact re-invigorated being around the Australian guys like [Craig] Mottram.

“It’s made me realise what I need to be doing, that what I’m doing now isn’t enough so it’s certainly a good learning experience. I will take a lot of motivation away from it, but running like that’s a kick in the teeth.”

Ilham Tanui Ozbilen (TUR) had the locals on their feet when he won heat one in 3:41.93. The six fastest times of the eight athletes to qualify for the final all came from heat two.

Athletics Australia

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