SYDNEY (Reuters) – World high hurdles champion Sally Pearson returned to competition in her pet event for the first time in 14 months at the Australian national championships on Sunday, winning her heat before skipping the final because of fatigue.
The London Olympic gold medallist, who has been hampered by injuries since winning a second 100 metres hurdles world title in 2017, won a tight heat in 12.99 seconds before announcing she would not go for a 10th national title.
“This was my first hurdles race for 14 months and a lot of that 14 months was rehab, trying to get back into training again,” the 32-year-old told reporters at Sydney’s Olympic Park.
“Then from about October or November it was trying to get fast again and then the first race. So it was all in a very short amount of time to get back up to 100 percent.
“My body is just saying ‘don’t do it, you don’t need to run now, you’ve got six more months until the world championships’. At the end of the day you’ve got to respect your body and that’s what I’m doing at the moment.”
Pearson, who missed last year’s Commonwealth Games in her home city of Gold Coast because of an Achilles problem, is hoping to win her third world title in the event in Doha in October.
She won her first world title in Daegu, South Korea, in 2011 in a time of 12.28 seconds, which is still her personal best and places her sixth on the all-time list in the event.
The Australian has struggled with injuries over her career, fighting her way back from a horrific fall that shattered her left forearm in Rome in 2015 only to suffer a hamstring strain that ended her hopes of defending her Olympic title in Rio.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)