10.4 C
New York
Sunday, April 21, 2024

For Sally Pearson, all that glitters is gold

SYDNEY: Sally Pearson is the world 100 metres hurdles champion, has a bulging trophy cabinet and owns this year’s fastest time — and she simply won’t hear of settling for silver again at the Olympics.The Australian was edged out by America’s Dawn Harper in the Beijing 2008 final but since then she has become the pre-eminent women’s sprint hurdler, earning the honour of IAAF female athlete of the year in 2011.Pearson, 25, had a phenomenal season last year, winning 15 of 16 races with her only blemish coming when she clipped a hurdle and fell in the final Diamond League race in Brussels.Among her 2011 victories was the world title in Daegu in the fourth-fastest time in history (12.28secs), and in March this year she claimed the world 60m hurdles indoor crown in Istanbul.Her 12.49 at the Australian Olympic trials, also in March, is the year’s fastest — and she equalled it in June with a dominant performance over some of her London rivals at the Diamond League meet in Oslo.She subsequently posted a fast 11.20secs in winning the 100m and was just 0.03secs shy of her own world lead in winning the 100m hurdles in Nivelles, Belgium, in late June.But Pearson’s Olympic silver medal, which had been a great source of pride at Beijing, has now become merely a reminder of what she has left to achieve in London.”Everyone thinks about my silver medal at Beijing,” Pearson said. “But you have to remember that I won the world championships last year, the Commonwealth Games before that and won a world indoor title this year.”I am (have) every chance. I am not going out there to get silver. I am out there to get gold.”Pearson believes she is a more confident hurdler since becoming world champion, and is adamant she will handle the daunting pressure as the gold medal favourite at the London Games.”It (the pressure) doesn’t get to me, especially if I am confident within myself,” she said.”I felt a lot of pressure after (winning silver at) the Olympics in Beijing going into 2009 but that was when I didn’t know how to handle it.__PAGEBREAK__”I didn’t know what to expect and I just let my body get injured. This time around I can handle it, I understand what’s going on.”Pearson beat home Americans Danielle Carruthers and Harper to win in Daegu in world championship record time, with Britain’s Tiffany Porter fourth.The world title is one thing, but for Pearson winning an Olympic gold medal is on another level.”It actually feels like the world title was a lifetime ago as I had to get over it pretty quickly because for me this is the year that I really wanted,” she said.”Yes, it’s great to be a world champion — I wouldn’t pass it up — but this is the Olympics, this is what everyone knows and wants.”Should she top the podium in London, Pearson will become the third Australian to win Olympic gold in the event after the legendary Shirley Strickland (1952-56) and Maureen Caird (1968).Pearson’s remarkable rapid-fire hurdling technique comes from a combination of a dedication to detail in training along with the development of her endurance, which allows her to hold her form over all 10 hurdles.Sharon Hannan, who has been coaching Pearson for 13 years, said the feisty Australian has an incredible commitment to her sport.”She has an innate competitiveness,” Hannan said. “It’s just born. Then she commits, she just commits to every session, every repetition.”She doesn’t miss anything: commitment, continuity, repeatability. She can just go out and do it again and again.”Racing is always different to training but everything Sally is doing in training is better than 2011 — it’s looking really good,” Hannan said.AFP

Related Articles

Latest Articles