Pearson withdraws from Games

Pearson withdraws from Games

A Commonwealth Games already blighted by high-profile withdrawals suffered a hammer blow on Thursday  when the hosts' top track champion Sally Pearson was forced to pull out with a serious Achilles injury.

The 2012 Olympic champion Pearson, who won a second world title in the 100 metres hurdles at London last year, had been the face of the Gold Coast event, and far and away the top drawcard for athletics at Carrara Stadium.

A long-time resident of the balmy tourist resort in northeastern Queensland state, the 31-year-old Pearson was front and centre in Wednesday's opening ceremony where a packed crowd roared her appearance as the final baton-bearer in the relay.

Yet she performed the task with a heavy heart, having decided two days earlier to cancel her bid for a third consecutive Commonwealth gold in her pet event.

"I had a big role to play in the opening ceremony which is why I waited until today to make the announcement," an emotional Pearson told reporters on Thursday.

"I did everything I possibly could. I left no stone unturned to run in the 100m hurdles and the 4x100m relay.

"Gutted. Absolutely gutted... There were a lot of tears flowing.

"I guess you could call it grief. I was double and triple checking it was the right decision (to withdraw). Not being able to go out on that track and run for Australia is gut wrenching."

Organisers will also feel the pinch, having lost Olympic and world 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk to injury in the leadup.

The South African's withdrawal followed a number of snubs by the world's top athletes, including Kenyan Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha and Canada's triple Olympic sprint medallist Andre De Grasse.

 

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