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Sally Pearson

28 May

Australia’s World Champion 100m hurdler Sally Pearson will go head-to-head with British record holder Tiffany Porter at the Aviva London Grand Prix on 14 July in a duel that will act as a preview to the Olympic final.

Porter started her summer preparations in fine fashion on Friday, with victory in Ostrava beating 2010 World Indoor Champion Lolo Jones of the USA, and IAAF World Athlete of the Year Pearson believes that Britain’s number one will provide a stern test two weeks before London 2012.

“It’s going to be good to come up against a world-class performer like Tiffany once again at the London Grand Prix, and it’s a race that I’m really excited about. Taking on the best in the world in the biggest races is a big motivator for me and this could well be a preview of the Olympic final.

“Tiffany will have the crowd behind her and will be gunning for a big win so I’ve just got to go out there and perform. If I do that, I’m always confident of coming away with the victory.”

Crystal Palace has been a happy stomping ground for Pearson picking up two victories in the last three years. With the track record of 12.52 firmly in her sights, she will be looking for a repeat of her 12.28 run at the World Championships in Daegu last year – the fastest time in 19 years, and just 0.07 off the world record set by Bulgarian Yordanka Donkova in 1988.

“I’m really looking forward to coming back to the London Grand Prix after winning there last year. It’s going to be a really key race in my Olympic build-up and the perfect way to acclimatise as I aim to go one better in 2012 than I did in Beijing.

“London is going to be a home away from home for me this summer and a packed house at Crystal Palace is a great way to kick things off.”

Porter will be looking to challenge the dominance of Pearson after finishing second behind the Australian at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul and believes that having the opportunity to compete against such a world-class field in the build-up to the Olympic Games can only work in her favour.

“Competing in London ahead of the Olympics is going to be really special for me. I want to compete against the best, and Sally is that person at the moment, so having that opportunity two weeks before the Games is one I’m relishing.”

With the Aviva London Grand Prix also expected to feature other high profile names, Porter is confident that the Olympic dress rehearsal at Crystal Palace will prove that she has what it takes to put herself in contention for glory this summer.

“I expect a number of the events at the London Grand Prix to have the same line-ups as those in the Olympic final a few weeks later, and the 100m hurdles will certainly fall in to that category.

“I know that on my ideal day I can beat the best. Hopefully I can do that twice this summer, firstly at Crystal Palace and then at the Olympic Stadium a few weeks later.” 

Before her return to Crystal Palace, Porter will be focused on the Aviva 2012 Trials in Birmingham next month. After finishing fourth at the World Championships last year, Porter is more determined in her quest to become the first British Olympic medallist in the women’s 100m hurdles since Shirley Strong in 1984.   

“I narrowly missed out on a medal in Daegu last year, which makes me more determined to be on that podium in the Olympic Stadium. But I know there is plenty of work to be done before then, starting with the Olympic Trials at the end of June.

“Having the A standard has taken a bit of pressure off me, but I still have to make sure I secure my place in the team. Nothing is a foregone conclusion in athletics, and I certainly won’t be treating being ranked number one as my ticket to the Games.”

Sally Pearson and Tiffany Porter will be in action at the Aviva London Grand Prix on Saturday 14 July.

Back the team and watch the world’s best athletes in action at the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace on 13-14 July. Buy your tickets today at www.uka.org.uk/tickets or call 08000 55 60 56.