Pearson delivers fighting words to doubters
HURDLES queen Sally Pearson, who is about to make just her second appearance on the track this year, knows the world is watching.
Even though the Doha world championships, where Pearson will be the defending champion, are still six months away, the mind games have well and truly started.
"When I come out I want to be good, I want to do a performance and do a good time," Pearson said.
"I just felt like I needed a little bit longer to make sure when I put a performance out there it means something.
"All the competitors overseas look at every single result and if they're seeing you running a 12.9 or something like that, then they're not going to be interested.
"I have to be aware that everyone else in the world is watching as well and that my performances stack up as well."
Pearson will seek her 10th national 100m hurdles title on Sunday in what is her first major meet since being forced to withdraw from last year's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games with an Achilles injury.
She ran over 100m in Brisbane last month but then pulled out of two scheduled hurdles races that had been pencilled in as preparation for the national championships.
"Because the world champs are so late, I thought 'I don't really want to be doing too much racing now,'" Pearson said.
"I wanted to get back into some more hard work and get fitter and stronger.
"There's only so much you can do to get fitter, stronger, but I wanted to be really good for Doha, because I have to race the bloody Olympic champion there.
"For me it's really important to make sure that my progressions into the world championships are the best they can be considering last year.
"I don't want to have another year like last year. Touch wood. I have to be really careful - because I'm almost 32 as well and the body is definitely feeling 32 - about how I manage my training loads with my competition."
Despite her extraordinary CV, the 2012 Olympic champion acknowledges she seems to be required to prove herself regularly. This time the talk is about whether she can again come back from an extended injury break.
"I feel like people put that (prove myself) on me, to be honest, I don't feel like that myself," Pearson said.
"It's disappointing that I feel like I have to do that for other people. I don't feel like I have to prove myself because I know what I have done and my achievements.
"People very quickly forget that I am a two-time world champion and an Olympic champion and silver medallist, they forget all that.
"They are like, 'Oh she wants to come out and race and she just breaks down'. Well, no I don't.
"It's not motivation for me because I love doing what I do."
Pearson, who is set to compete in the world relay championships in Japan next month, is pleased the hurdles landscape has changed during her absence although the event has lost her long-time rival Dawn Harper, who has retired.
"It hasn't really changed much over the last few years, even from Rio. I was expecting Brianna (Rollins-McNeal) to at least break my Olympic record in Rio and that didn't go which I'm happy about obviously," she said.
"Everyone is still kind of at the same level."