2017 world champion hurdler Sally Pearson has withdrawn from the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games through injury.
The 31-year-old had been in line to compete at a fourth Games for Australia but was unable to overcome a recurrence of an Achilles injury that had hampered her preparations in recent weeks.
Pearson conceded that it was heartbreaking to miss out on competing at a major championship on home soil and in her home city.
“Representing my country means absolutely everything to me and it’s devastating that I won’t be able to run,” she said.
“I’d been looking forward to this for so long but the injury has flared up at the worst possible time. I’ve overcome it before and I will do it again but in the meantime, it’s just shattering – not just for me but also for my family, my friends, my sponsors and my fans.”
“I trained as planned on Tuesday however it became evident that my symptoms had escalated to a point that I was left with no other option than to withdraw.”
“After consultation with my medical and management team, I came to this decision knowing that I had given myself absolutely every chance of making the start-line. Sometimes you have to accept that you have run out of time and what will be will be,” Pearson said.
“I love my sport and will return to international competition for Australia as soon as possible."
Pearson shared these details in a heartfelt message to her teammates earlier today before the press conference.
Pearson will remain with the team in Village and said she would look forward to embracing her role as co-captain of the Australian Athletics Team.
“If I can’t be on the track, I’ll focus all of my attention on supporting my teammates and ensuring their experience is as successful as possible.”
“There are a lot of people who have purchased tickets to watch me race, to them and all my fans I’m sorry to disappoint you but this is just another challenge that I will overcome.”
Team Head Coach Craig Hilliard said that whilst Pearson’s absence is a significant blow for the Australian Athletics Team, he knows she will play a pivotal role in supporting the team and enabling them to perform at their best.
“Whenever you lose an athlete of Sally’s quality it’s a major disappointment for the group. But typical of her character, she sent a message to her teammates this morning sending her best wishes for the coming days and reminding them of the opportunity that they have in front of them,” he said.
“We all know Sally is resilient. She’ll take the necessary time to regroup, complete her rehab and we’ll look forward to seeing her back on the track,” Hilliard said.