Pearson camp defend Games withdrawal delay
Posted on 12/17/18 5:03 PM
Sally Pearson runs with the Queen’s Baton at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth GamesSally Pearson’s camp has defended delaying the announcement of her Commonwealth Games withdrawal until the day after the opening ceremony.
National athletics head coach Craig Hilliard revealed the injured Pearson had grappled with the call right up until the hours before she delivered the Queen’s message to Prince Charles at Carrara Stadium on Wednesday night.
And while n chef de mission Steve Moneghetti was made aware she intended to pull out of the 100m hurdles and 4x100m sprint relay, there was a reluctance to make it public for fear of diminishing the importance of the opening ceremony and the journey of other athletes.
“Steve was aware of the situation, we had to flag that,” Hilliard said.
“The timing was not great and she certainly didn’t want it to detract from the Games or the opening ceremony or anyone else’s journey here.
“I think that’s important to realise. So today was the most convenient.”
Pearson said she realised she couldn’t compete two days ago when an ongoing Achilles problem flared up at training, but “left no stone unturned” to attempt a third consecutive Games gold medal.
The 2012 Olympic gold medallist and two-time world champion was still wrestling with the “gut-wrenching” decision as late as Wednesday, when she discussed it with Hilliard and team doctor Paul Blackman for hours.
“She sat down with Paul and myself yesterday at length, still questioning whether this was the right decision,” Hilliard said.
“We were mulling over a lot of things and that’s why the decision was made for today.”
Pearson, ‘s athletics co-captain and the face of the Gold Coast Games, said it was a “team decision” to keep the news quiet and did her best to enjoy her baton duties before the inevitable disappointment set in.
“We wanted to not take away from the opening ceremony and allow me to at least enjoy the last leg of the baton relay,” Pearson said.
“It was about soaking up that atmosphere.
“I tried to keep any negative thoughts out of my mind just for that slight moment, but obviously it was in the back of my mind what was to come the next afternoon. It was definitely tough.”