Pearson hands Oz only gold
Daegu - Sally Pearson stormed to Australia's first, and likely only, gold medal of the world championships on Saturday when she won the 100m hurdles in a new championship record of 12.28 seconds.
Gold Coast resident Pearson had shown how determined she was by firing out to a world lead of 12.36sec in the semi-final.
The 24-year-old went one better in the final, running the fourth fastest time ever run in the event in a masterful display of hurdling.
Only world record holder Yordanka Donkova (12.21sec in 1988) of Bulgaria, her compatriot Ginka Zagorcheva (12.25 in 1987) and Sweden's Ludmila Engquist (12.26 in 1992) have gone faster.
"I have worked so hard to get here to this," said Pearson. "I've got faith in my coach and I could not be happier with my training, so I'm not surprised by this win.
"I just wanted it so bad. Since the Commonwealth Games (in Delhi in October, which she won), I've wanted this so badly.
"I made sure I focused every single thing on this."
Pearson's gold medal showing will be welcome relief for an Australian team that has struggled to make a dent on the medals table in Daegu.
Team captain Steve Hooker, the reigning world, Olympic and Commonwealth champion, bombed spectacularly in the men's pole vault, failing to even attempt a vault in his three efforts in qualifying.
Mitchell Watt could then only watch on in horror as veteran American Dwight Phillips reignited his season in front of his eyes and strolled to a fourth world title in the long jump. Watt won silver.
And Nathan Deakes, the 2007 champion, limped out of the men's 50km race walk, Jared Tallent contenting himself with bronze in the gruelling event.
That left Pearson as the last gold medal hope, and she did not shy away from her responsibility.
Up and out smartly from the blocks in lane three, the Australian was quickly up on Canada's Phylicia George and Britain's Tiffany Porter.
Keeping composed and physically tight through her execution, Pearson streaked through the line, Danielle Carruthers winning silver from American teammate Dawn Harper in a photofinish after both finished in 12.47sec.
The relief in the Australian camp was certainly evident.
Pearson rushed over to where her teammates were sat in the crowd, Hooker leading a stampede of yellow-clad fellow athletes and supporters down to the stand edge, punching the air and dancing in delight.
The Australian also dampened any thoughts about the so-called 'cover curse', which saw the first four stars featured on the cover of the Daily Programme bomb out of their events, including Hooker.
"Stuff the bloody front page of the programme curse. I worked too bloody hard to succumb to that!" Pearson said, throwing a copy with her photo on it to the floor and grinding it with her spikes.