UPDATE at 1:50 PM | WORLD champion hurdler Sally Pearson has confirmed she will not compete in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games due to an Achilles injury.
The 31-year-old had been in line to compete at her fourth Games for Australia but was unable to overcome a recurrence of an Achilles injury that had hampered her preparations in recent weeks.
Pearson said she was left with no other choice but to pull out of the 2018 competition, a decision that she said has left her feeling “absolutely gutted”.
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Pearson said she knew two days ago that she needed to pull out but wanted to wait until after last night’s Opening Ceremony, in which she played a pivotal role, before announcing her withdrawal.
“I trained as planned on Tuesday however it became evident that my symptoms had escalated to a point that I was left with no other option than to withdraw.”
“After consultation with my medical and management team, I came to this decision knowing that I had given myself absolutely every chance of making the start-line.
“Sometimes you have to accept that you have run out of time and what will be will be.
“I love my sport and will return to international competition for Australia as soon as possible.”
The golden girl from the Gold Coast conceded that it was heartbreaking to miss out on competing at a major championship on home soil and in her home city.
“Representing my country means absolutely everything to me and it’s devastating that I won’t be able to run,” Pearson said.
“There were a lot of tears flowing, there were a lot of emotions.
“I guess you could call it grief, going through the sort of numb phase first and then going through the crying phase.
“I’d been looking forward to this for so long but the injury has flared up at the worst possible time.
“I’ve overcome it before and I will do it again but in the meantime it’s just shattering – not just for me but also for my family, my friends, my sponsors and my fans.
“I have done everything I possibly can… not to be able to go out on that track and run for Australia is gut wrenching…it’s heartbreaking.
“I went out there last night to the Opening Ceremony and heard the roar for Australia and not being able to feel that for myself in my individual events is very disappointing.”
Pearson will remain with the Australian Athletics Team in the Athletes Village and said she would look forward to embracing her role as co-captain of the Australian Athletics Team.
“If I can’t be on the track, I’ll focus all of my attention on supporting my teammates and ensuring their experience is as successful as possible.”
“There are a lot of people who have purchased tickets to watch me race, to them and all my fans I’m sorry to disappoint you but this is just another challenge that I will overcome.”
Looking ahead, Pearson ruled out an early retirement and said her sights were firmly set on Tokyo 2020.
Head Coach Craig Hilliard said that whilst Pearson’s absence was a significant blow for the Australian team, he knows she will play a pivotal role in supporting her teammates.
“Whenever you lose an athlete of Sally’s quality it’s a major disappointment for the group,” Hilliard said.
“But typical of her character, she sent a message to her teammates this morning sending her best wishes for the coming days and reminding them of the opportunity that they have in front of them.
“We all know Sally is resilient. She’ll take the necessary time to regroup, complete her rehab and we’ll look forward to seeing her back on the track.”
FIRST at 10:00 AM | OLYMPIC hurdler and Gold Coast golden girl Sally Pearson has called a snap press conference where it’s expected she will announce her withdrawal from the Commonwealth Games.
The captain of the Australian athletics team reportedly informed her teammates this morning that she has been forced to withdraw from the 2018 competition due to an Achilles injury.
Pearson, 31, suffered the injury in the lead up to the preparation of this year’s Games.
The sprinter walked her Surfers Paradise leg of the Queen’s Baton relay on Wednesday and was given the honour of passing the baton to the rostrum at last night’s Opening Ceremony.
This morning’s development is a huge blow to the Australian team and even more devastating for Pearson, who was hoping to compete in front of her home crowd on the Gold Coast.
She has called a press conference for 1pm, where she will make an “announcement” with Head Coach Craig Hilliard and Australian Athletics Team Doctor Paul Blackman.
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) April 4, 2018