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Pearson's 100m gold medal under threat

india Updated: Oct 07, 2010 21:44 IST

Sally Pearson became Australia's first Commonwealth Games 100m champion in 36 years on Thursday when she stormed to the women's title in 11.28 seconds, although it could all end in tears.

It was a season-best run by the 24-year-old who held off Nigeria's Osayemi Oludamola (11.32) in a tight finish while Natasha Mayers of St Vincent and The Grenadines (11.37) took the bronze, the first athletics medal for her country at Commonwealth level.

But a late evening protest by England could see Pearson demoted.

The medal ceremony was not held and Australian team officials at the track said England had protested after Pearson was apparently not penalised for a false start.

Instead, England's Laura Turner was held responsible, although after some animated words with judges on the start line she ran the race under appeal, only to finish last.

Replays showed Pearson, a Beijing Olympics 100m hurdles silver medallist, clearly false starting. She held her head in her hands but kept her focus as Turner argued the point. "I was pretty scared. I thought I had false started," she told Australian television after the race.

"I stayed on the track. I had no choice but to focus on what I had to do."

She later added: "I got the best start of my life, so I am very excited." "It has been up and down for me this season."

Although the Commonwealth boasts four of the top six 100m sprinters in the world, none of them made the trip to New Delhi and Pearson made the most of their absence, powering out of the blocks and never looking back.

The Jamaican trio of Veronica Campbell-Brown, Shelly-Ann Fraser and Kerron Stewart all opted out of the event, as did Trinidad's Kelly-Ann Baptiste. Fraser's decision to give Delhi a miss became apparent on Wednesday when the reigning women's world and Olympic 100m champion was banned for six months for failing a dope test.

Oludamola said whoever was responsible for the false start should not have started the race.

"Something went wrong with the start," she said. "I don't know why they allow people to participate in the competition if they cannot follow the rules. "In small competitions it happens, but in very big ones they shouldn't be allowed to make a false start."

Pearson will now turn her attention to the 100m hurdles, where she will be a hot favourite to win a second gold medal.