Australian hurdler ‘gutted’ to miss Rio
been highly competitive. Swifts and Firebirds have been the standouts, but they have not had it all their own way. Fever and Vixens have pushed hard, and occasionally pushed them over.
Having said all that, Southern Steel are in the box seat. They are the one strong team in a weak conference – and they should win the New Zealand conference final in a canter. Then they will host the semifinal against the loser of the Australian conference final.
Should Steel win that game they will host the grand final in Invercargill by virtue of their superior regular-season points. Anyone who has ever played anything in Invercargill knows it is cold and hard and inhospitable to any visiting team.
Imagine if, after nine years of the trans-Tasman competition – during which Australian teams have lifted the trophy on seven occasions – a Kiwi franchise won the final season. It’s like rain on your wedding day.
Liz Ellis is Australia’s most capped netballer. Now retired, she is a prominent commentator. Sally Pearson says she would have risked the end of her athletics career by trying to overcome a hamstring injury and compete at the Rio Olympics.
The Australian Olympic 100m hurdles champion says she’s ‘‘gutted’’ at being forced to withdraw from the Rio Games after injuring a hamstring tendon at training on Monday.
‘‘I could have gone to the Olympics and still competed but competing and going out to the Olympics, it means different things to me,’’ she said yesterday.
‘‘I go there for 100 per cent effort and I wouldn’t be able to give that effort that I would like to bring . . . and the risk of re-injuring and causing a lot more damage and probably not coming back was very, very high.
‘‘And I still have Gold Coast 2018 [Commonwealth Games] on my mind.’’
Pearson had returned to her Gold Coast base to find fitness and form after struggling in three comeback races in Europe earlier this month.
The races were her first competitive outings after a year-long absence because of a broken wrist and a torn calf muscle suffered in a fall during a race in June last year.
‘‘It is a hard time for me – I’m disappointed and I’m gutted,’’ she said.
‘‘Everyone knows I’m a competitor and I’m a fierce competitor and I like to represent my country proudly at any competition that I go into.
‘‘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 upsetting.’’
The Southern Steel, the only unbeaten team in the trans-Tasman league, celebrate another win in a year when the New Zealand conference was deemed too weak to maintain Australian interest.