Aussie hurdler Sally Pearson pulls out of Commonwealth Games | News | DW | 05.04.2018
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Aussie hurdler Sally Pearson pulls out of Commonwealth Games

Sally Pearson has withdrawn from the Commonwealth Games with injury, a day after the opening ceremony. Pearson said there were "a lot of tears flowing" as she made the decision not to compete on home soil.

Australian Olympic gold medalist and two-time 100-meter hurdles world champion Sally Pearson pulled out of the Commonwealth Games on Thursday, because of an ongoing Achilles tendon injury.

The injury flared up two days ago, causing 31-year-old Pearson to be unable to clear hurdles in training.

Speaking at a media conference on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Pearson said that she was "absolutely gutted" but that her "health comes first."

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'No stone unturned'

"I did everything I possibly could. I left no stone unturned to run in the 100-meter hurdles and the 4 x 100-meter relay," Pearson said. "I guess you could call it grief. I was double and triple checking it was the right decision. Not being able to go out on that track and run for Australia is gut-wrenching."

As part of the opening ceremony, Pearson had been the final runner in the more than a year-long baton relay, handing it over before the games were opened.

"I had a big role to play in the opening ceremony which is why I waited until today to make the announcement," she told reporters.

Eyes on Tokyo

Pearson said she had to give up the Commonwealth Games if she wanted to compete at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

"I want to go to Tokyo in 2020. If I had run, who knows what would have happened, I could have been out for longer than I am now," Pearson said.

The athlete is one of just three Australians to win two world track and field titles.

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The 2012 Olympic champion won a second world title in the 100-meter hurdles in London last year.

Pearson struggled through four injury-plagued years after her gold medal win at the 2012 London Olympics and had been close to retiring.

But she said retirement was "not an option" now. "I guess this tendon is going to be very unpredictable for the next few years," Pearson said. "And it's about managing that and keeping it as strong as possible so that I am in the best possible shape for next year, the world championships and the Olympic Games."

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law/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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