Saturday’s Jandakot Airport Track Classic marks Sally Pearson’s return to full distance hurdling on home soil, following her stunning victory at last year’s IAAF World Championships in London.
The meet, at the WA Athletics Stadium will see Pearson go head-to-heard with Brianna Beahan, with the West Australian welcoming the competition that an athlete of Pearson’s calibre will bring to the track.
“At the end of the day I’m going to run my own race,” Beahan said. “Sally is here to run her own race and having her here is what we need. I need that competition, and to be able to have the best in the world is obviously very, very good.
“I need people in my race to be challenged. Having interstate athletes come over to race is fantastic because we’re pretty far away over here.”
Beahan has posted several Commonwealth Games B qualifying times (13.33) but is yet to reach the magic 13.06 of an A.
"I want that 12.9," she said.
Pearson heads into tomorrow’s race with some fast form on the flat, but admits that hurdling is another challenge.
“It’s a completely different rhythm, but I’m hoping for 12.8-12.7,” the dual champion said. “That would be nice to start off with. Knowing me I always want to go faster so if I ran those times I’d be disappointed anyway, so we’ll see,” Pearson laughed.
“I’ve been working a lot with my technique over the hurdles,” she continued. “I guess it’s not about major improvements, it’s just tweaking a few little things.”
Pearson is hoping that the tweaks will result in the sort of times she was last able to produce in 2011, her personal best a 12.28 set at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu where she trumped the USA’s Danielle Carruthers and Dawn Harper-Nelson.
“I’d like to close to those times again – it doesn’t necessarily have to be in April; it could be this year or next year,” Pearson admitted. “It’s just a matter of where can we fine-tune those areas so I can get my speed back again. I think we’re sort of getting there. It’s just me getting used to the technique that I need to improve my times to get faster again.”
With just 11 weeks to go until the opening ceremony of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Pearson says that while she won’t yet be in top form, she’s working her way up to it.
“I prepare my body for every single race that I put my name down for… it will definitely be of a high standard.”