02 JUN 2012 General News

Pearson departs for Europe at the double

Sally Pearson wins the 100m Hurdles at the 2012 Melbourne World Challenge (Getty Images)Sally Pearson wins the 100m Hurdles at the 2012 Melbourne World Challenge (Getty Images) © Copyright
The time for her hurdles could have been a touch quicker, but World Athlete of the Year Sally Pearson will head off to join the Samsung Diamond League in Oslo following a solid double victory at 100 Hurdles and 100m flat after a final hit-out in Brisbane on Saturday (2).

Competing in a low-key meeting alongside some of her Australian men’s 4x400 metres relay teammates and members of the team for the World Junior championships, Pearson ran a slick 12.74 seconds in her flagship hurdles before coming back an hour or so later to win the 100 in 11.31.

“A bit quicker in the hurdles would have been nice,” said Pearson. “I was pushing for a time similar to what they ran in (the Samsung Diamond League) Rome (meeting) yesterday, but the conditions aren’t ideal today and we’re talking about a small meet in Brisbane rather than a big stage like that.”

Pearson was referring to the 12.66 Beijing 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper ran to edge US teammate Kellie Wells (12.68) in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico last Thursday (31 May). But if she was even a touch disappointed, her ambition for London later this year remained undiminished.

Pearson is conscious she set a new benchmark with her 12.28 win – Oceania record and fourth-fastest all-time - at the World Championships in Daegu last year, but is prepared to go even faster this year.

“The times at the World champs last year were very impressive, quicker than Beijing four years ago, and being another Olympic year I expect things to pick up again,” said Pearson.

“I don’t know if I am ahead of where I was this time last year, but I do know that I’m not going to the Games for silver again and that I am capable of running the time needed to win. There is never a guarantee in sport but I will do 110 percent to make it happen for both me and Australia.”

“I’m a much more experienced athlete than I was in Beijing, I have a Commonwealth Games title, the World title and a World Indoor champs gold now too. Beijing was my first big performance but I continued to improve and I will arrive in London just as confident as I did before World champs last year and World indoors a couple of months ago.”

Pearson was undefeated in the hurdles last year save for a fall in the Samsung Diamond League final in Brussels. She began 2012 in similar vein with a world-leading 12.49 at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Melbourne on 3 March followed by a dominant victory over the 60 metres Hurdles at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.

And her performances in her final hit-out before leaving for Europe were pretty much a match for the same time last year, Pearson said.

“The times here today are almost the same as what I ran before heading over for World champs prep last year, and that was in beautiful warm sunshine on the Gold Coast so on the whole I am pretty happy.”

Pearson said she was looking forward to Oslo, where Thursday’s meeting includes a preliminary round of the hurdles.

“I just can’t wait to get over there. It’s going to be a smashing field in Oslo, so many of the girls are running because it provides a chance to run heats and then a final. It will be really exciting.

“Training has been going as well as it should be, I’ve got today’s race out of the way and shaken all the cobwebs out. I’ve not missed a session since I came back from world indoors and I’m feeling as great as possible before flying out.”

Pearson will be based in Cologne for the coming few weeks and will also compete at the Paris and London instalments of the Samsung Diamond League.

Len Johnson for the IAAF