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Hurdles champion Pearson out of Rio – reports

Australian Olympic hurdles champion Sally Pearson has torn a hamstring during training, reports said Wednesday, casting doubt over whether she will compete at Rio.

Pearson, Australia’s top athlete who won 100 metres hurdles gold at London in 2012, picked up the injury while training on the country’s Gold Coast, News Corporation newspapers said.

The reports said she would miss Rio but the Australian Olympic Committee would not confirm this and Athletics Australia (AA) tweeted only that Pearson “will be made available to the media” on Thursday.

An AA spokesman said there would be no further comment ahead of her press conference.

The Australian Olympic Team said on its Twitter feed: “Sad to read injury reports on @sallypearson. She was fighting to be fit for Rio.”

The 29-year-old only returned to competition in June after spending a year on the sidelines following a fall that shattered her wrist, which affected the technique she uses at the start of a race.

But it did not go to plan with Pearson trailing in after pacesetting Americans in three races in Europe.

Earlier this month she pulled out of her last scheduled race in Stockholm to return to her Gold Coast base and focus on training to be in shape for Rio.

In a blog post on June 18, Pearson reflected on the “broken bones, torn calf, degenerative achilles and hammy problems” that have plagued her over the past year.

“What brings athletes back even after we get pushed down time and time again from disappointment?” she wrote.

“For me, it’s the excitement, the fun and the pure determination that I can overcome the setbacks and still deliver my best.”

But Pearson also admitted she was struggling for fitness.

“I have now been home for six days. I have left nothing in the tank on my return,” she said.

“Training has been intensely hard and I am exhausted from it but at this stage I have absolutely no other choice if I am going to be competitive in Rio.

“I have just less than nine weeks until I compete and I am going to do everything in my power to be the best athlete I can be while representing my country in the biggest sporting event in the world.”

Pearson, who also won hurdles silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and gold at the 2011 Daegu World Championships, is the Australian track and field team captain and was due to race her opening Olympic heat on August 16.

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