Pearson ready for double as Samuels smashes PB

7 April 2014

ATHLETICS: Sally Pearson can't wait to step out of her comfort zone and take on many of the world's fastest women when she doubles up at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in the 100 metre hurdles and 100m sprint.

The Olympic hurdles champion's haul of national titles climbed to 13 on Sunday when she powered to victory in the 100m hurdles in 12.72 seconds, a day after winning the 100m.

Pearson contested both events at the 2010 Games in Delhi and only a controversial false start in the flat race denied her two gold medals.

But with the likes of multiple world and Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and the other Caribbean sprint queens likely to compete in Glasgow, the competition will be many times tougher at the Games.

Which is just the challenge the hurdling superstar wants, with the 100m scheduled early in the program.

"I'm not expecting medals because I think this time around the best in the world will be attending the Commonwealth Games and they'll probably run 11.0s, 10.9s, who knows?" said Pearson who has a 100m PB of 11.14.

"I'd really like to try and see how I would go against (Fraser-Pryce).

"I've never been able to do that.

"You watch the other sprinters at an Olympics and think 'gee, I wish I was down there on the track and see what I could run' because I'm always in good shape when I get to a major."

Pearson was one of 35 athletes to guarantee their spots in the team for Glasgow during the April 3-6 trials at Lakeside Stadium.

They will be among up to 45 competitors officially named on Wednesday in a Commonwealth athletics squad that could eventually number more than 100.

Dual Olympian and 2009 world discus champion Dani Samuels has culminated a fantastic domestic season with a massive personal best throw of 66.81m in the final round.

It was almost a metre better than her previous PB of 65.84m set in Sydney in 2010 and would have been good enough to claim silver at last year's world titles in Moscow behind Croatian powerhouse Sandra Perkovic.

"All the training I have done over the years since Berlin that has not been nothing, it has been there, it has been a big base."

Samuels plans to also contest the shot put at the Commonwealth Games.

Middle-distance runner Jeff Riseley and long jumper Robbie Crowther have both battled some tough times in recent years, but were all smiles on Sunday.

Riseley won a dramatic 1500m in 3:46.47, vindicating his decision to part ways with long-time coach Nic Bideau after a desperately disappointing 2012 Olympic campaign.

"I was 26 and I had run super fast times but I just hadn't been able to perform in a major championships," said Riseley.

"I had run the second-fastest Australian time ever and for whatever reason I just couldn't get it right at the right time.

"It just felt I needed a change, because it wasn't working."

Riseley's former training partner Ryan Gregson successfully appealed against interference in the final straight by Joshua Wright, who was disqualified, with Gregson elevated to second place.

After failing to push on from his world junior title in 2006, Crowther was nearly lost to athletics in 2013, only to be enticed back by highly-respected jumps coach Gary Bourne.

"Last year I was working fulltime and playing a bit of touch footy and just going down to the track now and then, not doing much," said Crowther, who won a second national title with 8.03m.

"I put a comment on Facebook and Gary came on and said 'come on, you have great talent, you still have more in you'."

Teenager Eleanor Patterson is still young enough to compete at the world juniors this year, but will instead be chasing Commonwealth gold in Glasgow after winning the high jump with 1.92m.

Among the other athletes to book their spots in the Commonwealth Games team on Sunday were Brooke Stratton (6.70m in the women's long jump), Ella Nelson (23.47 in the women's 200m), Brittany McGowan (2:02.15 in the women's 800m) and 400m hurdlers Ian Dewhurst and Lauren Wells.

Three athletes from the 2010 Youth Olympic Team secured their place on the Commonwealth Games Team. Nicholas Hough (NSW) clocked 14.12 (w: -2.9) to win the 110m hurdles, Liz Parnov (WA) won the women’s pole vault (4.20m) and Damien Birkinhead (VIC) took out the shot put (19.04m).

More Youth Olympians and athletes who have come through the Australian Youth Olympic Festival are expected to be named in the Commonwealth Games squad when it is finalised.


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