Ennis to square off against Pearson
Sun, 05 Aug 2012 11:05a.m.
By John Salvado
Sally Pearson remains every inch the woman to beat for the 100m hurdles gold medal at the London Olympics.
But it looks likely that she is going to have to share the limelight with Britain's golden girl Jessica Ennis.
Fresh from her command performance in the heptathlon - which included a slashing run of 12.54 seconds in the 100m hurdles - Ennis is likely to confirm on Sunday that she will back up in the individual event.
Her national record time of 12.54 on Friday morning in the opening event of the heptathlon was the first clear sign that the track at the London Olympic Stadium was super quick.
That will also be music to the ears of Pearson, who moved to fourth on the all-time list with her winning effort of 12.28 at last year's world championships in Daegu.
Having dominated the heptathlon from start to finish, Ennis is set to again carry the hopes of a nation into her secondary event.
But - as is usually the case in the sprint hurdles - the biggest challenge for reigning IAAF female world athlete of the year Pearson is likely to come from the United States.
Kellie Wells is the only woman to have beaten the feisty Australian in 2012, having pipped her to the line in atrocious conditions last month at Crystal Palace.
Dawn Harper is the defending Olympic champion and Lolo Jones is the most hyped member of the US trio.
Jamaica's Brigitte Foster-Hylton - the 2009 world champion - will also fancy her chances.
But in reality the event is Pearson's to lose.
"I know how to keep myself grounded," said the Queenslander, who was a surprise silver medallist behind Harper at the Beijing Olympics when still aged 21.
"I know how to stay focused. I know how to stay hungry.
"I think that's what keeps me fast and at my best is because I have always stayed hungry and I know that these girls can beat me, they have done it before.
"I know it is going to be tough - these are the Olympic Games."
The heats are on Monday morning, with the semi-finals and final on Tuesday evening.
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