Updated: 03/17/2014 11:11 | By Agence France-Presse

Australia's Pearson denied Ali rematch

Olympic 100m hurdles champion Sally Pearson has been robbed of a chance to redeem herself against rival Nia Ali after the American Monday pulled out of the Melbourne World Challenge, infuriating organisers.


Australia's Pearson denied Ali rematch

Australia's Sally Pearson (L) and US Nia Ali compete in the Women 60 m Hurdles Final event at the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Poland, March 8, 2014 - by Janek Skarzynski

Ali upset Australian defending champion Pearson to win the women's 60m hurdles gold at the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Poland this month.

It set the scene for a high-profile re-match in the 100m hurdles in Mebourne on Saturday but Ali informed organisers she will not make the trip to Australia, just 24 hours after her entry was officially confirmed.

Athletics Australia chief executive Dallas O'Brien said he was "very disappointed" with her sudden withdrawal, for which no reason was given.

"It is very disappointing, and to be honest frustrating, to hear that Nia has chosen to withdraw from competing at the IAAF Melbourne World Challenge," he said.

"We made the announcement of her start yesterday following regular conversation with her management and given the lateness of the decision it will be difficult to replace her with an athlete of equal calibre.

"For athletics fans the race between Ali and Sally Pearson was a very exciting match-up and I apologise for the fact that it now won't go ahead."

Despite Ali's withdrawal, a number of top international athletes will appear in Melbourne, with world champions David Oliver, LaShawn Merritt and Eunice Sum in action, along with New Zealand's Olympic shot put champion Valerie Adams.

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