There have been questions raised recently about the relevance of the Commonwealth Games. From witnessing the 2018 games on the Gold Coast in April, I can ensure everyone that the games have meaning.
UPDATE: Sally Pearson has officially withdrawn from the 2018 Commonwealth Games after the flare-up of a previous and long-term Achilles problem.
At a press conference today, she said severe pain she experienced during warm-ups made it clear she wouldn’t be able to participate.
“Everyone here today knows how much of a competitor I am and how much I love to run for my country and teammates,” she said.
“Not to be able to go out on the track and run for Australia is gut-wrenching, heartbreaking.
“The thing with the Achilles tendon [injuries] is they spark very quickly. This has been ongoing for a couple of years and it is unfortunate the timing is now.
“My health comes first,” she said.
As disappointed as she was in not being able to run at this year’s Commonwealth Games, Pearson knocked back any claims she was considering retirement after missing her second major tournament in three years.
“I will be doing rehabilitation to make [my Achilles tendon] as strong as I can for the World Championships and the [Olympic] Games in Tokyo in 2020,” she claimed.
Original story follows
Sally Pearson has called a press conference for 1pm (AEST) this afternoon, where she is expected to announce her withdrawal from the Commonwealth Games due to an Achilles injury.
It is understood both Craig Hilliard and Paul Blackman – head coach and head doctor of Australian athletics – will be alongside Pearson at the conference.
The 31-year-old had reportedly been carrying the Achilles injury for some time, but was still considered highly likely to be participating in her signature 100m and 200m hurdles events.
She had previously told Fairfax Media that she was a “90 per cent” chance of competing, with coach Hilliard lauding her “approach [to] these things”.
“That’s one of her great qualities; it’s very inspirational,” he said, labelling her one of the greatest leaders of the team.
“I’ll be able to block it [the injury] out as much as possible; nothing’s going to be controlled, it’s going to be all out,” Pearson said.
“If this had been my first major thing that’s happened in the last few years then I’d probably be struggling a lot more.
“I’ve been through hands and Achilles and hamstring [injuries] before … it’s definitely helped me to cope.”
It now looks all but certain, however, that Pearson will be unable to add to her medal tally this time around.
Pearson has enjoyed great success at the Commonwealth Games previously, claiming gold in the women’s 100m hurdles at both Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014, while also being part of the bronze-winning relay team at Melbourne 2006.
She’s taken out gold in 100m hurdles at the IAAF World Championships in both 2011 and 2017, claiming silver in 2013, while also claiming gold at the London 2012 Olympics and silver in Beijing 2008.
She currently holds both the World Championship record (12.28 seconds) and Olympic record (12.35) for 100m hurdles.
Injuries have beset her in the past as well, however, with Pearson missing both the 2015 IAAF World Championships and the Rio 2016 Olympics with injury.