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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Sally Pearson eyes 100m hurdles world record

Sally Pearson eyes 100m hurdles world record

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1 Sally Pearson eyes 100m hurdles world record on Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:14 am



Sally Pearson eyes 100m hurdles world record

* by: Adam Head
* From: The Daily Telegraph
* January 14, 2012

IN SALLY Pearson's mind, de facto records and near misses are worthless.

All that matters is a maiden Olympic title and a world record, in that order. For the first time, Pearson and her coach Sharon Hannan have revealed their blueprint for breaking the 23-year-old 100m hurdles world record.

It all hangs on the owner of that mark, Bulgarian Yordanka Donkova, one of only four women in history who have gone faster than Pearson's 12.28sec.

Those who competed and coached during the dominance of the Eastern Bloc countries at the height of the Cold War already regard the Queenslander's world championship-winning time as a de facto record.

The powerfully built Donkova and her compatriots dominated the track during an era tainted by widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Pearson, who opens her Olympic year campaign tonight at the Brisbane Track Classic, is 0.07sec away from the fastest time in history.

She competes in an environment hostile towards sports doping, with testing an almost weekly routine.

Yet moral victories are of no consolation.

"Those girls never tested positive to drugs," Pearson said. "The time stands, I didn't break it, I'm not the world record-holder.

"It doesn't give me any satisfaction. The one that's there is the one that counts.

"When I break it, I will be the world record-holder and there will be no ifs or buts."

The challenge facing the 25-year-old Olympic favourite and her mentor is unearthing data on Donkova's time, set at a low-key meet in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria.

Hannan has searched endlessly and fruitlessly for video footage of the race. Nor can she find vision of Donkova's next best, a heat run of 12.24 at the same meet.

Thankfully, a French bio- mechanist has uncovered data on Donkova's quicker times, which Hannan believes could be the key to lowering Pearson's personal best.

Without even factoring in the Bulgarian's splits, the wily Hannan has already highlighted room for improvement.

"In the (world championships) final, Sally's time off the last hurdle was slower than several of her other records so maybe we can pick up three-hundredths there. Perhaps another hundredth at the start," Hannan said. "The rest will have to come from the whole race segment, a thousandth here and a thousandth there. People talk about one-per-centers, it's a-tenth-of-a-per-center now."

Techno-babble does not concern the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games silver medallist. The magic of the Pearson-Hannan dynamic is they respect and understand each other's roles.

"I don't try to get stuck into the scientific stuff because it's too much," Pearson said. "If I can run with ease, and not have that sort of stress, then I race better."

It all starts tonight at Nathan's Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre where the Gold Coast track star hopes to help her 4x100m relay team to a qualifying mark. There will be no gold medals or world records handed out but somewhere, in the back of Pearson's mind, that dream is becoming more vivid.

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