Hurdles champion Pearson pulls out of Rio Games

Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:36am EDT
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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's Olympic sprint hurdles champion Sally Pearson said she was 'gutted' after a hamstring tendon tear she picked up in training forced her to pull out of the Rio de Janeiro Games on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old, who won gold in the 100 meters hurdles at the London Olympics, had battled back after being sidelined for a year by a shattered wrist only to suffer the hamstring injury training at her base on the Gold Coast.

"It's a hard time for me at the moment. I'm disappointed and I'm gutted," Pearson told Australia's Nine Network on Wednesday.

"Unfortunately, it is the biggest sporting event in the world that I am going to be missing out on and I can't be a part of. It's devastating that I can't be at Rio as the Olympic champ."

Pearson's hopes of defending her title at the Aug. 5-21 Games had looked slim after a fall at the Golden Gala meeting in Rome last year shattered her wrist so badly, she feared her left forearm might need to be amputated.

The 2011 world champion, who also won silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, missed the back end of the 2015 season as a result of the fall and only returned to racing in Europe early this month.

Her results in three races in Birmingham, France and Oslo were disappointing, however, and she returned for a period of intense training in the warmer climes of her hometown on the Queensland coast.

COMING TOGETHER   Continued...

Australian Olympic team member Sally Pearson poses during the official launch of the team uniforms for the 2016 Rio Olympics, in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia, April 19, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray