DERVAL O’ROURKE RECORDED a season’s best time of 12.91 to qualify for the semi-finals of the Women’s 100m Hurdles.
The time was enough to get her home in fourth and qualify for the next stage as one of the fastest losers.
The Cork athlete sprung out of the traps and took the first couple of hurdles well but American Dawn Harper’s mid-race burst put her in command.
Nevin Yanit of Turkey cleared her final hurdles with gusto and did battle with Harper for first place, eventually crossing the line with a winning time of 12.70.
O’Rourke and Ekaterina Galitskaya were left to fight for third spot, with the Russian getting in two hundreds of a second ahead of the Irish woman.
O’Rourke told TheScore.ie, “I’m satisfied; I’m not thrilled. I takes a lot more than that to thrill me.” She added:
I’m disappointed it was not top three – it should have been. I shouldn’t have let the Russian dip me (at the end).
“It was a good start,” O’Rouke declared, “It has been there all season. It’s the rest of it. It can be better. I know from training that there is a lot more there.”
O’Rourke, who pulled out of the Irish Nationals at Santry last month, was delighted with her sprinting clearance of the first hurdle, describing a similar leap in her pre-race warm-up as “brutal”.
A little help courtesy of TheScore.ie
She also paid credit to Ireland’s 100m sprint champion, TheScore.ie’s Ailis McSweeney, as a selfless training partner. O’Rourke commented:
Ailis has been amazing. She has had a very tough year but she has stepped up and done every single, and every warm-up, with me.
“We covered three hurdle warm-ups and up to eight hurdles and she did it all with me.”
She later spoke to RTE after her race that the support of British fans and a large Irish contingent at Olympic Stadium spurred her on. O’Rourke said:
It’s really exciting and feels like a home Olympics, the British are really, really supportive and it’s great to be here.
“I felt like I needed to get out well and I did, my middle part of the race went a bit off, but I know I have a lot more.”
The best time of the morning’s heats came courtesy of Sally Pearson of Australia who put in a blistering run of 12.57 to win Heat 5. Lolo Jones of America won Heat 6 in 12.68.
Tiffany Porter had the home support at Olympic Stadium as the American-born Great British athlete took third place in Heat 1 with a time of 12.79 to advance.
The semi-finals of the Women’s 100m Hurdles get underway at 7.15pm on Tuesday.
O’Rourke will run in the second semi, in the same grouping as Jones, Pearson and Porter.
The 31-year-old will have to run close to her personal best time of 12.65 to have a chance of advancing to the final, which takes place later that evening at 9pm.