Pearson looking for a third successive Samsung Diamond League win in 23 days on her return to Monaco
Monaco - Olympic 100 metres hurdles silver medallist Sally Pearson competes at one of her favourite venues, the Herculis meeting in Monaco on Friday, 22nd July, confident she can add to her recent Samsung Diamond League victories in Lausanne and Birmingham.
Sally Pearson admits after the great start to her European season that she is itching to return to the imposing Stade Louis II Stadium where she has achieved three podium finishes and posted two Area records on past visits to the Principality.
The 24-year-old, after lowering her Oceania record for the sixth occasion with a world leading time of 12.48 seconds in Birmingham on 10th July, also feels there is a lot more to come from her speedy legs as she prepares for the fast approaching 13th IAAF World Championships taking place in Daegu from 27 August - 4 September.
"I don't feel nervous or excited," she said after moving ahead in the World rankings of Kellie Wells who will be one of her main rivals for the gold medal in Korea along with Danielle Carruthers - the two American's who she rates very highly and who will also compete in Monaco.
Pearson who along with other Aussies bases herself in Cologne, Germany, whilst on tour, insisted: "I feel ready to take on the challenge. I am in very good shape and training is going very well.“
„My preparation has been ideal. I feel all I need to do now is just keep healthy and let my body do what it can do."
The Commonwealth champion started her Samsung Diamond League programme with an awesome display in her opening appearance on in Lausanne when roaring to a spectacular but wind assisted time of 12.47.
Wells, the USA National champion, having now lost 2-0 to her Aussie rival in less than a month, isn't surprised Pearson is firing on all cylinders despite flying halfway around the world. "Not at all," she said of Pearson's victories and times in Lausanne and Birmingham. "Sally's an Olympic medallist and she's prone to running fast. That she's come prepared is no shock."
Pearson admitted: "I have had an amazing preparation and an amazing Australia season", where during the summer downunder she clinched the National 100m, 200m and 100m Hurdles titles , becoming the first Australian woman to claim the three crowns since the feat was last achieved by Pam Kilborn in 1968.
She revealed: "People seem to forget about me when I head home to prepare for the next season. When I am training and competing in Australia it is like I am hidden.
"No one in the northern hemisphere knows how my training is going. It is really good I think because then I can come over to Europe as almost the ‚unknown’ and not have any pressure on me, but it’s like 'I know better'.”
"I wasn't surprised at all when I ran that well in Lausanne although the +3.3 wind was very tough and most hurdlers don't like huge tail winds as it can push you into the hurdles too close and really puts your rhythm off."
But Pearson while relishing her return to the tough head-to-heads on the remaining Samsung Diamond League schedule insists the primary aim is victory in Daegu after a pre-event injury ruined her chances of winning the 100 metres gold medal at the 2009 IAAF World Championships.
Pearson, one of the favourites, saw her preparations wrecked at the most crucial point with a back injury just two weeks before the Championships got underway in Berlin’s 1936 Olympic Stadium, and makes no secret the setback was the low point of her career.
Her superb build up which included a victory in an Oceania record time of 12.50 at the Herculis meet in Monaco just weeks before convinced her she could add gold to the silver medal she had claimed a year earlier at the Beijing Olympics.
But although battling gamely her aspirations were scuppered on an evening to forget when Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Priscilla Lopes-Schliep and Delloreen Ennis-London took the podium places and she finished a frustrated fifth.
Pearson recalled: "Two weeks before I was to run in Berlin I was doing run throughs on the track and my back seemed to stir so I lay down to see if I could take some pressure off it. As I was trying to get up I couldn't move let alone get off the ground. It was the most excruciating pain I have ever been in."
"When I arrived home in Australia (after the Championships) I had scans done and it showed that I had torn one of my lower discs in my back.“
"It took me a very long time to get over the disappointment from the Championships. I look back now about what I went through and I did do quite well but I went to those Worlds ready to win gold and to come fifth was devastating."
Pearson, a charming person away from the track, admits to having a tough attitude towards her career although the emotional side in her make-up was publicly depicted when disqualified for a false start after winning the 100m flat at the Commonwealth Games last October.
"I can be quite a ‚hard’ person but yes, that is only for training and competitions", she said. "In person I can be quite shy and quiet. It can take a while to get to know me but if you're a pleasant person then I have no problem in having a conversation with you, although I still don't put up with crap from people - ha-ha.“
"Of course I was emotional", she added of the red card in New Delhi, India. " We train so hard for what we do in a competition and to have that taken away from you hurts. I am not afraid to show my emotions it shows the general public that we are real people and not just robots as well."
But now - after that setback and the back injury - her confidence is at an all-time high with Daegu and the 2012 London Olympic Games being very much on her mind as is running quicker than ever before.
"Every season you want to run as fast as you can and hope that it puts you in a good position for a medal", she said. Of course in every race I would love to run a personal best but you have to listen to your body and go from there.
Pearson insisted: "I believe I can go a lot faster this season - a time I'm not sure on - but my ultimate ambtion is to win the World‘s and do it in a personal or season's best time.
"So whatever that is, I'll be happy with!"
Dave Martin for the Samsung Diamond League