Sally Pearson's "gut feeling" proved spot on as the Australian women's 4x100m team clocked its fastest time in 19 years at the world relays in Japan on Saturday.
The squad of Pearson, Maddie Coates, Riley Day and long jump specialist Naa Anang stopped the clock at 43.19 seconds – guaranteeing Australia a spot in the event at the world championships in Doha later this year.
Flying: File photo of Sally Pearson, who helped Australia’s 4x100m relay to a scorching time in Japan.Credit:AAP
In a successful night for the Australian team in Yokohama, the men's 4x400m team also locked in their spot for the Doha world titles, while Joshua Ralph and Catriona Bisset were a surprise second in the 2x2x400m relay.
But it was the women's 4x100m squad who shone the brightest.
Not since a team anchored by Melinda Gainsford-Taylor ran 42.99 back in early 2000 – 12 days before teenager Day was born – had an Australian women's sprint relay outfit gone so fast.
"We gave it absolutely everything we had tonight to get our top-10 time for the world championships in Doha and I think we've just gone so much further than that," said Pearson.
"I knew from the warm-up we were going to do this.
"I had a gut feeling about how well we were going to run tonight.
"We proved it to ourselves, we wanted it more than anything and now we've proved it to our country and our federation that we are worth fighting for."
Coates is almost certain to miss Sunday's final after straining a hamstring during the second leg.
"I'm just glad I got a run in the heat and to get the time for Doha was the most important thing," she said.
Alex Beck, Tyler Gunn, Murray Goodwin and London Olympics finalist Steve Solomon held their nerve to finish fourth in the toughest of the men's 4x400m heats.
It proved good enough for a spot in the final, with Beck predicting they could go faster again on Sunday.
Joshua Ralph got off his sick bed to claim to join the inexperienced Catriona Bisset in an unlikely second-placed finish in the 2x2x400m relay.
Ralph powered home in the final lap in a race won by the United States.
"Something Cat doesn't know is I was vomiting all afternoon," he said. "I ate some fish by accident and I'm allergic to seafood.
We proved it to ourselves … and now we've proved it to our federation we are worth fighting for.
"I wasn't really sure how this evening would go but we've come up with the goods."
Ralph and Bisset both picked up $US7,500 ($A10,700) in prize money.
The result continued a remarkable rise to prominence for the 25-year-old Bisset, who seemingly came from nowhere to win the national 800m title in April.
"It's pretty amazing for my first international competition," said the Melbourne University student.
"I feel like I could do it again; I'm so pumped.
"I wish I'd attacked it even earlier. I was just a little afraid of cooking it too early because it's such an unknown competition."
The other final decided on Saturday was also an unusual affair.
The Australian team of Brianna Beahan, Nicholas Hough, Celeste Mucci and Nick Andrews scraped into the four-team mixed shuttle hurdles decider despite finishing last in their heat.
They were seemingly guaranteed a top-three finish when Jamaica pulled out before the final, only for Beahan to get the Australians disqualified after breaking at the start.
The star-studded United States line-up of Christina Clemons, Freddie Crittenden, Sharika Nelvis and Devon Allen went on to win in convincing style against Japan, the only other team still standing.
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