July 4 (Reuters) - Australia’s Sally Pearson is finding her rhythm again after returning from a hamstring injury and is confident she is on track to defend her sprint hurdles title at the World Championships next month, the Olympic champion said.
The 26-year-old Queenslander suffered a hamstring tear in a 4x100m relay at the Asian Grand Prix Athletic Championship in Sri Lanka in May after missing the domestic season with the same injury.
She made a winning return in the Czech Republic last month but lacked her usual speed between the barriers and was fourth in a strong 100 hurdles field at the IAAF Diamond League event in Birmingham on Sunday.
“I can definitely run faster than what I did in Birmingham. I feel like my rhythm is starting to come back so that’s a good thing, and anything around 12.6 would be nice,” Pearson said in an Athletics Australia statement.
“I haven’t come into this season with too many expectations, but we have made some changes to my programming with a few extra races added to prepare for the World Championships and I‘m confident the time will start to come down.”
The Diamond League event in Lausanne on Thursday will be her third stop before the World Championships in Moscow in August and Pearson said she had tried to stay patient.
”I‘m surprised by how I am dealing with this situation, I thought I would be a lot more anxious than I am,“ she said. ”I‘m really happy and relaxed and that’s probably because I have already done what I am trying to do this year.
”I’ve won the world title, I’ve won the Olympic title and all I want now is the world record but I know that I would be asking too much of myself after the year so far.
“I‘m being as patient as I can be, and that’s not something that I am usually very good at. It would obviously be nice to go out into these races and win, but after two injuries and only two races I am doing quite well for where my season is at.”
Pearson narrowly missed the podium in Birmingham but predicted it would not be too long before he is back to her best.
“I was less that one tenth of a second from the win in Birmingham and those girls have been running for two months,” she said.
”After Sotteville (in France) on Monday I have a week to get some training in, then I will run again in Monaco before more training and a race in London.
“There is still a few weeks to the World Championships after that and I think with good training and racing a suitable rhythm to get me onto the podium will come and it will be a matter of who is the best athlete on the day.” (Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by Peter Rutherford)