Sally Pearson raring to hurdle in Europe
By John Salvado
Sydney Morning Herald
June 27, 2011
Hurdles superstar Sally Pearson can fire an early shot across the bows of her leading American rivals when she begins her European campaign on Friday (AEST).
The Beijing Olympics 100m hurdles silver medallist will race five times in Europe before heading to Daegu for the world championships beginning on August 27.
Coach Sharon Hannan says Pearson is in career-best shape for this time of year and could easily run 12.60 seconds or faster in the Diamond League meet in Lausanne.
American Kellie Wells leads the 2011 world rankings after winning the US world championship trials in Eugene, Oregon in 12.50 on Monday (AEST) ahead of Danielle Carruthers and Dawn Harper.
It was unclear how many of the top Americans would rush straight across the Atlantic to compete against Pearson in Switzerland.
"Last year Sally got off the plane from Australia on the Tuesday and raced on Thursday in Monaco and did 12.7 low," Hannan said on Monday.
"But given she has already gone 12.7 in Australia I think she'll quite easily run a 12.6 or better.
"She's learnt quite a bit about what she has to do to get there in better shape as well.
"She's about three weeks ahead of when she went over last year."
Pearson, 24, confirmed she was in great nick when she clocked 12.74 at a domestic meet on the Gold Coast earlier this month, her best-ever time on Australian soil.
And however fast Pearson went in Lausanne, Athletics Australia international liaison officer Maurie Plant predicted she would only get quicker at her following pre-world championships meets in Birmingham, Monaco, Budapest and London.
"If Wells, Harper and Carruthers show up then so be it, that means it will be a great race," said Plant.
"I think Sally will run really well.
"But whatever she does, she will do a whole lot better in the next few weeks."
With gun Canadian Priscilla Lopes-Schliep taking a year off to have a baby and no-one running fast at the Jamaican world championship trials over the weekend, Pearson's greatest challenge for 100m hurdles gold in Daegu seems likely to come from the Americans.