Pearson swapping hats at world indoor athletics


Birmingham (United Kingdom) (AFP)

Australian hurdling star Sally Pearson admitted Thursday she was heading into the IAAF World Indoor Championships and Commonwealth Games learning how to best manage coaching herself.

Pearson, 31, claimed her ninth Australian 100m hurdles crown last month and will use the indoor champs in Birmingham as a perfectly-timed warm-up for next month's Gold Coast Commonwealths.

"Sometimes I don't know who's talking in my head," joked Pearson, who won the world indoor 60m hurdles title in Istanbul in 2012, the same year she went on to win Olympic gold over 100m hurdles in London.

"I don't know how to differentiate from who's the athlete and who's the coach sometimes.

"That's quite difficult because as an athlete you always want to do exactly what's written down on the programme, you want to work hard and finish the session but sometimes the coach has to step in and say 'No, you've done enough, you've got what you want out of that session'.

"I'm constantly switching hats," she said, adding that she had little problem between training for indoor and outdoor events because they were both sprint-based.

Pearson battled back from four serious injuries in 12 months to win world outdoor gold in London last year, an achievement she described as her "proudest moment".

"Coming back to competition was a huge deal for me," she said, having broken an arm in the Rome Diamond League meet in 2015 and sustained a hamstring injury a year later that saw her miss the Rio Olympics.

"It was a fun ride more than anything, I felt like a rookie on the team again.

"I felt a new love for my sport again, not that I'd fallen out of love with it, but it gave me a new perspective for how much work goes into becoming a world champion."

Pearson added: "Physically and mentally I'm ready to go to these world indoors, but my focus is geared towards the Commonwealth Games as it's being held 10 minutes up the road from where I live!"

Pearson will face an almighty challenge for a second world indoor title from a trio of dangerous, in-form Americans in Sharika Nelvis, Kendra Harrison and Christina Manning.

Susanna Kallur's world record of 7.68sec looks under real threat.

Harrison, the 100m hurdles world record holder, last month blitzed to 7.72sec before Nelvis edged Manning, 7.70 to 7.73 at the US championships at altitude in Albuquerque.

"The Americans are in red-hot shape," acknowledged Pearson.

"They're running exceptionally fast and I'm hoping I can stick on their tails."