LEEVALE athlete Derval O'Rourke will compete in the semi-final of the World Indoor Athletics Championships today after qualifying as a fastest loser from her heat in Istanbul.
Only the first three in yesterday's heat were guaranteed places in the semi-final and the former World Indoor Champion is through as the fastest runner-up in a time of 8.19.
O'Rourke, in the outside lane, was put off by a flying start in lane six by Trinidad and Tobago athlete Aleesha Barber, and after a slow reaction time of 0.287 seconds -- twice the time it took race winner Sally Pearson to get out of the blocks -- found herself trailing at the first hurdle.
O'Rourke, competing in her first World Indoor Championships since winning the world title six years ago, recovered quickly but was still edged out of the three automatic qualifying positions, as third-placed Nikita Holder (Canada) dipped for the line four-hundredths quicker.
O'Rourke had to watch and wait for the other three heats to be concluded before she went through.
But the Olympic hopeful was still edgy afterwards: "I was only just fourth. That's life. I thought there was a false start. I got out and held back a little bit, as I thought we were going to be called back, but it wasn't.
"In 60m hurdles, it's hard to get that momentum back. That's life, that's racing."
Having run a season's best 8.16 heading into Istanbul, O'Rourke was looking to improve on that time in the first round -- instead she fell short of the year's mark by three-hundredths, and was not happy about that.
"No, it's terrible," she said. "I have to do better."
Outdoor world champion Pearson won in a continental record time of 7.85 seconds, a full 23-hundredths clear of former European indoors champion Eline Berings (Belgium) in second.
Pearson also had similar thoughts to O'Rourke's: "Despite my hesitation at the start, I still ran an excellent time."
Earlier, O'Rourke's clubmate Ciaran O'Lionaird, a finalist in the World Championships last August, ran below expectations in his 1500m heat as he finished 11th in three minutes 50.12.
Down's Ben Reynolds competes in the men's 60m hurdles heats this morning (7.40am Irish time).