Sally Pearson of Australia crosses the line to win gold in the Women's 60 Metres Hurdles Final during day two - WIC Istanbul (© Getty Images)
Olympic 100m hurdles champion and 2011 World Athlete of the Year Sally Pearson will defend her IAAF World Indoor Championships 60m hurdles crown, announced Athletics Australia on Thursday (16).
The 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships will be held in the Polish city of Sopot between 7-9 March.
"It's exciting to be back defending my title this year, and it will be a good addition to the already busy start to my year," said Pearson, who memorably won in Istanbul in 2012 having not competed at an indoor meeting for three years.
Pearson will arrive in Sopot having competed outdoors in Athletics Australia's 2014 National Athletics Series, and planned are outings in Adelaide on 15 February and Perth on 22 February before she heads to Europe.
“The Australian season for me is a really important time to build up my speed for later in the season and the shortened format of World Indoors allows for that very well.
“I lost the opportunity to do that last year (after two hamstring injuries during the winter), and I see it as crucial as a sprinter because race fitness is so important. Sopot lets me work on getting that edge on the other girls through a great start so I am looking forward to it,” added Pearson.
“I’m expecting to see most of the girls from Moscow, Tiffany (Porter of Great Britain) will definitely be there and I’m sure most of the Europeans will as well,” added Pearson, who also won a gold medal at the 2011 IAAF World Championships and a silver last summer in Moscow.
“The US Trials will be very interesting. Only two places are up for grabs and it is such a competitive event over there. They don’t have a major championship other than the World Indoors this year, so I’m sure most of the girls will be running for a spot and that should make it a strong contest.
“I’d love to see Brianna (Rollins, the world champion) run; she has a pretty quick indoor time and I’m interested to see how she is starting to progress this year. You want to run against the best in the world so that you are the best of the best when you win, and that’s why it would be awesome to have her there,” she said.
Pearson is part of a small team of just three Australian athletes, alongside distance runner Collis Birmingham, who will contest the 3000m in Sopot, and 2010 world indoor long jump champion Fabrice Lapierre.
“In the absence of a selection trial, the selectors took into account factors such as capability to perform at a high level at the World Indoors, medal contention and potential to be a future Olympic or World Championships finalist,” said Athletics Australia chairman of selectors Dion Russell.
Athletics Australia for the IAAF