World 100m champion champion Sally Pearson will open her hurdles campaign in Perth when the Qantas Australian Athletics Tour rolls into Western Australia on Saturday 11 February.
The four meeting Qantas Australian Athletics Tour culminates in the Qantas Melbourne Track Classic on 3 March, the first of 15 meetings of the 2012 IAAF World Challenge series of meetings.
Having opened her 2012 season with an impressive 100m win at the Brisbane Track Classic, in 11.25 (w: +0.1), Pearson believes she is in better form than this time last year.
The 2011 World Athlete of the Year’s challenger at the Go for 2&5 Perth Track Classic will be American Nia Ali, who finished last year ranked eighth in the world with the joint eighth fastest time of 12.73 (w: +1.5).
Pearson said: "The 11.25 I ran in Brisbane on Saturday night shows that I am in good shape, my plans for 2012 are beginning to take shape, and hurdling is the next step."
"I personally think I am in better shape than I was at the start of last year. As long as I keep listening to my body I am confident it will stay strong. Gold is the aim, but you never knock back an improvement of time."
"Conditions over in the west are always great for sprinters so it will be great to get out there. I won the 100m, 200m and 100m hurdles there last year and I'm really looking forward to it."
"America have always had a lot of great hurdlers, just look at the current group. There's Nia, Dawn Harper who is the Olympic champ and won bronze behind me in Daegu, [Danielle] Carruthers who won the silver at world champs and Kellie Wells had an early world lead last year.
"Nia didn’t even make the US team last year, yet finished top ten in the world so I’m sure she'll be up there in 2012, one to watch for sure.”
The 23-year-old NCAA champion Ali upset the form card at last year’s USA championships when she pipped Lolo Jones to the line in the semi-finals, squeezing the World indoor champion out of the final and, more importantly, a spot on the world championships team.
Ali finished fifth in Eugene, behind Wells, Carruthers and Harper, all of whom made the world championship final in Daegu.
Athletics Australia for the IAAF