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Hurdles champion Pearson pulls out of Rio Games

Australian Olympic team member Sally Pearson poses during the official launch of the team uniforms for the 2016 Rio Olympics, in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia, April 19, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray
Australian Olympic team member Sally Pearson poses during the official launch of the team uniforms for the 2016 Rio Olympics, in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia, April 19, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray

(Reuters) - Australia's Olympic champion high hurdler Sally Pearson has pulled out of the Rio de Janeiro games after tearing her hamstring in training, local media reported on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old, who won gold in the 100 metres hurdles at the London Olympics, had battled back after being sidelined for a year by a wrist injury only to suffer the hamstring injury training at her base on the Gold Coast, the Sun Herald said.

An Athletics Australia spokesman was unable to confirm Person's withdrawal on Wednesday and said she would address the media on the Gold Coast on Thursday.

Pearson's hopes of defending her title in Rio had looked slim after the fall at the Golden Gala meeting in Rome last year, which so badly shattered her wrist she feared her left forearm might need to be amputated.

The 2011 world champion, who also won silver in the event at the 2008 Games in Beijing, missed the back end of the 2015 season and only returned to racing in Europe early this month.

Her results in three races in Birmingham, France and Oslo were disappointing, however, and she returned for a period of intense training in the warmer climes of her home town on the Queensland coast.

"I have left nothing in the tank on my return," Pearson wrote in a post on her website (http://sallypearson.com.au/) 10 days ago.

"Training has been intensely hard and I am exhausted from it but at this stage I have absolutely no other choice if I am going to be competitive in Rio."

Pearson is likely to continue competing at least until the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which will take place on the Gold Coast.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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