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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Sally wins 3 titles & Tamsyn wins the last ever at OP

Sally wins 3 titles & Tamsyn wins the last ever at OP

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Flying: Sally Pearson on her way to victory in the 100m hurdles at the national championships at Olympic Park yesterday.

Relief for Sally Pearson as she snares three national titles
By Scott Gullan
Herald Sun
April 18, 2011

THE smile as she crossed the line said it all for Sally Pearson. It was a mixture of relief, for what she'd done in the past three days, and excitement about what it means in the big picture.

Despite feeling like an "old woman" when she woke up yesterday, Pearson was untroubled in adding the 200m and 100m hurdles national titles to her 100m crown.

After crossing the line in the hurdles in 12.83sec, she slumped to the track as the realisation of her achievements -- she became the first athlete since Pam Ryan in 1968 to win three titles at the one championships -- hit home.

"I think it's been bottling up," Pearson said. "It's such a relief for it to be over and my body is still in one piece.

"I have done 23 races since January and it's been really tough going but also good that I've been able to run, train, compete and travel all season.

"Last year was completely different. I did three races throughout the whole season, although it came out pretty all right at the end of the season.

"Having a really good Australian season in preparation for the international competitions was important and I'm really looking forward to that now, but I'm just so glad this championships is over."

In just over three hours yesterday, the Olympic silver medallist ran four races, with her victory in the 200m in 23.20sec coming just 40 minutes before her hurdles triumph.

While Pearson scored a historic treble, veteran Tamsyn Lewis carved out a bit of her own history by winning her 17th national crown in the final race ever at Olympic Park.

On Saturday night the 32-year-old brilliantly won the 800m and she was again far too good in the 400m, clocking 52.31sec to defeat Queensland teenager Caitlin Sargent (53.18sec).

"For me these two (titles) were pretty special just because last year was really tough being injured and not winning for the first time since 1998 when I started," Lewis said.

"But my coaches taught me that it's how you react to those bad times that define you, so while I was disappointed with those results last year, I think it has pushed me to be a better athlete this year."

Lewis, who remembers seeing her father Greg, an Olympic sprinter, race at Olympic Park, admitted she was saddened by the move of athletics from its spiritual home to Albert Park.

"It is an honour to be the last race, but it's bittersweet. I still think we should be here and it's just so disappointing to be losing this track."

World champion Dani Samuels comfortably won her seventh national discus title with a throw of 61.79m.

There was an upset in the women's 1500m, with Zoe Buckman grabbing the gold (4min12.85sec) from favourite Kaila McKnight (4:12.92) with Georgie Clarke third (4:13.82).

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