Sally Pearson

British threat to Pearson dream

SALLY Pearson is not running scared.

Australia's world champion starts her 100m hurdles campaign tonight (heats start at 7.05pm AEST) and the favourite is determined to rise to the occasion.

Even if it means she'll have to silence most of the 80,000 spectators in the Olympic stadium because Britain's golden girl Jessica Ennis looks set share the limelight with the Queenslander.

Ennis, fresh from winning the heptathlon, which included a national record time of 12.54sesc in the 100m hurdles, faster than the 12.56secs run by Pearson in her final pre-Games hit-out last month, is set to again carry the hopes of a nation into her secondary event.

But Ennis shouldn't provide the biggest challenge to Pearson, the reigning IAAF female world athlete of the year - those from the United States should.

Kellie Wells is the only woman to have beaten Pearson this year after winning the Diamond League showdown in London last month.

The US line-up also includes Dawn Harper, the defending Olympic champion, and Lolo Jones, the most hyped member of the trio.

Jamaica's 2009 world champion Brigitte Foster-Hylton will also fancy her chances of taking down the Beijing silver medallist.

But Pearson isn't worried - despite the expectation of the nation being on her shoulders to win gold.

"I don't see it as pressure, I see it as support," she said. "Everyone wants to see me win and that's what I want to do. I can't guarantee it, but I'm going to do my best to definitely come back with the gold."

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