Aus­tralian hur­dler ‘gut­ted’ to miss Rio

The Dominion Post - - Sport - ATH­LET­ICS

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.

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