General News Melbourne, Australia

Pearson heads initial Australian team selection for Moscow

Sally Pearson of Australia leads Phylicia George of Canada and Nevin Yanit of Turkey during the Women's 100m Hurdles Final on Day 11 of the London 2012 Olympic Games on 7 August 2012 (Getty Images)Sally Pearson of Australia leads Phylicia George of Canada and Nevin Yanit of Turkey during the Women's 100m Hurdles Final on Day 11 of the London 2012 Olympic Games on 7 August 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright

22 November 2012 - The Australian Flame team for the 2013 IAAF World Championships begins to take shape from today, with nine athletes, including Olympic 100m Hurdles champion Sally Pearson, confirmed as Moscow-bound.

On the hunt to defend the 2011 World title that she won in a blistering Australian and Oceania record time of 12.28, Pearson will lead from the front alongside her fellow London 2012 medallists Mitchell Watt (Long Jump) and Jared Tallent (20km Race Walk, 50km Race Walk).

The trio, who also featured on the podium at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu, is joined on the list of pre-selected athletes by Olympic sensation Steven Solomon (400m) and long distance charges Lisa Weightman (Marathon) and Michael Shelley (Marathon).

Dion Russell, Athletics Australia Chairman of Selectors, said: “The first six athletes added to the Flame team for 2013 are those that achieved individual top-eight performances at the London Olympics, or a top-20 finish in the Marathon.”

“These athletes are the cream of the crop for their event internationally, and the pre-selection clause of the Selection Policy allows for them to focus their efforts on preparing for the world championships safe in the knowledge that they will be given the opportunity to compete.”

Solomon, who is currently on scholarship at Stanford University, said at the news of his selection: “London was a very special experience that has certainly increased my appetite for success. Having now proven to myself that I can match it with the best in the world, I am greatly looking forward to another successful campaign in 2013.

“I am lucky to have been a part of the Flame team when it is at its best. The quality of athletes and support staff around me has nurtured my development as an athlete, and crafted how I approach major championships. I feel that each championship is adding something new to my running, and I can’t wait to see how Moscow plays out.

“Stanford athletics is incredible. I am having an amazing time, and I definitely feel that this is the right place for me to prepare for the World Championships. The weather and coaching environment are phenomenal, and provide the ideal training environment.”

The Athletics Australia Selectors have also confirmed the automatic selections of Scott Westcott (NSW, marathon), Lauren Shelley (WA, marathon) and Jane Fardell (NSW, marathon) after their performance at the World Championships Selection Trial held as part of the Medibank Melbourne Marathon.

Westcott was a resounding winner of the Australian men’s marathon crown, claiming victory in 2:16:00, while Shelley and Fardell crossed the line first and second respectively in the women’s event.

Athletics Australia for the IAAF