Sally Pearson's mentor Antony Drinkwater-Newman is relishing challenge
By MARGIE MCDONALD
NOVEMBER 08, 2013
HE has been handed the highest-profile assignment in Australian athletics but Antony Drinkwater-Newman is not trembling.
He relishes the chance to turn a firm friendship into a global partnership by being the mentor for Olympic and world champion Sally Pearson.
He is prepared to take the criticism with the praise.
"Not a problem," Drinkwater-Newman said yesterday, speaking for the first time publicly since taking the role as Pearson's coach a month ago.
"We both really enjoy doing what we do. As long as we stick together and keep enjoying ourselves then the job will get done."
The letters in his surname are more than the years he has been a coach. He has a junior development squad on the Gold Coast but previously worked for Queensland Athletics at the Queensland Academy of Sport in Brisbane as well as being assistant coach (2005-11) to Sharon Hannan - Pearson's former coach of 14 years.
At 26, Drinkwater-Newman is a year younger than Pearson but he keeps his champ on her toes as his best over 100m (flat) is 11.01sec, compared with his charge at 11.14sec.
Pearson's fastest 100m hurdles time is 12.28sec, clocked when she claimed gold at the 2011 world championships in South Korea.
She finished with silver trying to defend that world title in Moscow in August, but it was a miracle medal in many ways as she had overcome two hamstring tears.
Pearson's association with Hannan ended after that event.
Now Drinkwater-Newman has her back in training, her leg muscle healed.
"The hamstring is now 100 per cent," he said.
"We're in a prep phase for the season, building a base for all the things we want to achieve."
Pearson will race hurdles and the 100m or 200m sprints in a few domestic track meets in Perth and Adelaide before her first major meet - the IAAF World Indoors (March 7-9) in Sopot, Poland, where she is the defending champion from Istanbul in 2012.