Pearson says world title medal would be a 'huge success'
SALLY Pearson believes winning a medal at next week's London world championships would go down as one of her greatest achievements.
The 2012 Olympic hurdles champion is returning to the scene of her career highlight with renewed excitement after fighting her way back from two years of injury problems.
Pearson, 30, hasn't competed at a major championships since she won the 100m hurdles gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
But after an impressive return to the international scene - her season's best of 12.48 seconds makes her the third fastest in the world this year - has the 2011 world champion right back in the mix.
"I have to be fair on myself and remember where I have come from, remember what I have been through with wrists, Achilles, hamstrings, all of that in a short space of time," Pearson said.
"But at the same time I am a competitor, so what do I choose? Do I choose to be fair on myself and just say 'just go out there and enjoy it and have fun', yet my other side is going 'you are going out there to win'.
"I would love, deep down, I would love a medal. I really would love a medal. I know you really want me to say gold but that's what I want, I would love a medal and I think that would be a huge success.
"Any colour, that would be a huge success."
Pearson's season best time came at last month's London Diamond League meet in the Olympic Stadium where she has so many great memories from five years ago.
"That stadium is incredible and as you know after all these years, I thrive off that excitement," she said.
"Strangely it is my comfort zone.
"Knowing that I have achieved in this stadium before and knowing I'm coming back again, probably not as the favourite to win but certainly a contender to at least medal or make a final or whatever - that sits well with me.
"But it's going to be hard. It's going to be one of the hardest races that I have ever done in my whole career - even harder than going for gold in London (2012)."
Pearson started self-coaching in August last year during the Rio Olympics, which she missed because of hamstring and Achilles injury.
An impressive national championships in Sydney in April showed she was on the right track, with the London Diamond League result the confirmation she needed.
"London gave me the confidence that I needed to go into the world championships to be a contender," she said.
World record holder Kendra Harrison leads a formidable American challenge and has clocked the fastest time in the world this season of 12.28sec.
But Rio 2016 Olympic champion Brianna Rollins is missing from London due to a drug suspension.
Pearson, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist, says her ability to step up in finals of major championships over her career gives her an advantage over her rivals.
"Sometimes sport can definitely be a mind game," Pearson said.
"As much as I like the thought of people thinking that (the 12.48sec proves she is really back), people know what I've done and people know what I'm capable of.
"No matter what has happened in 2013 and 2014, scrub out 2015 and 2016, those other two years I had injuries going into major championships and was still able to perform when it mattered.
"I think people know that and I don't have anything to prove to anyone else."
Harrison won the last meeting of the pair in Monaco, claiming victory in 12.51sec with the Australian fifth (12.68sec).
But Pearson has since ironed out a few technical issues from that race, which she feels will result in significant improvement.
"It's just a matter of what tricks does she (Kendra Harrison) has up her sleeve as well, what can she pull out and what can I pull out at the last minute," Pearson said.
"I know that I have a lot more to give. I think I do and I'm capable of doing it, it's just a matter of whether I can deliver it on the day.
"It will be interesting to see what she can come up with as well."
The heats of the 100m hurdles are on the evening of Friday, August 11 (AEST), with the semi-finals in the early morning the next day. The final is on Sunday, August 13, at 5.05am (AEST).