Michelle Jenneke got through a tough heat to make the semifinals.
Michelle Jenneke got through a tough heat to make the semifinals.

Pearson keeping next generation on their toes

For much of her career Australia's dancing hurdler Michelle Jenneke has had more happening off the track than on it.

As the YouTube hits piled up and the photo shoots kept coming, performances weren't keeping up with her fame.

After making her third world championships 100m hurdles semi-final in Doha, Jenneke has declared she will dedicate her life to hurdles in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics.

Stream over 50 sports Live & On-Demand with KAYO SPORTS on your TV, computer, mobile or tablet. Just $25/month, no lock-in contract. Get your 14-day free trial and start streaming instantly >

This year it has been university studies which has taken a lot of her focus but with the absence of Olympic champion Sally Pearson, she understands there is a large void in the event.

"My goal now is Tokyo, I'm not looking at getting a job anytime in the next 10 months," Jenneke said.

"I'm going to be a full-time athlete until then. This year my priority was definitely on my academic, next year my priority is going to be athletics which I'm very excited for."

Jenneke wasone of three Australians in the 100m hurdles in Doha which she says is a credit to Pearson's legacy.

The two-time world champion retired in August, finally succumbing to injuries which had cruelled her career since her surprise world title victory in London in 2017.

"Sally is a great loss, she is an amazing competitor and she was an amazing athlete," Jenneke said.


Brianna Beahan ran 13.14 in her heat.
Brianna Beahan ran 13.14 in her heat.

"I loved racing her every single second, she pushed me to fast times.

"You see the cohort of girls we have got racing now, we have got three girls at the world championshps which is absolutely amazing and Sally has to take a lot of credit for that.

"The way she has pushed us along, we have probably got one of our best eras of hurdling at the moment

"I still wish she was competing and I don't mind being in her shadow at all because she was phenomenal."

Pearson travelled to Doha as a mentor for the Australian team and also did some TV commentary work with the BBC.

Jenneke's personal best of 12.82sec dates back to 2015 which was the summer where she pushed Pearson for the first time.


Michelle Jenneke said she loved racing against Sally Pearson.
Michelle Jenneke said she loved racing against Sally Pearson.

The 26-year-old, a finalist at last year's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, is confident with her total focus on hurdles she will be able to regain that sort of form.

She was pleasantly surprised with her 12.98sec heat run in Doha which was the fastest time she'd recorded at a world championships.

After more than six years Jenneke recently finished her mechatronics degree at Sydney University. Part of her thesis involved creating a robotic hand.

It also involved a three-month work placement which was why she initially thought she wouldn't make it to Doha.

"My preparation has been super interrupted this year, at the start of the year I had written the season off," Jenneke said.

"I got an internship over the summer where I did three months and working 40-hour weeks during the domestic season which took a lot out of me

"I am incredibly proud of the fact that I have been able to complete such a challenging uni degree whilst still competing at high level."

Western Australia's Brianna Beahan also progressed through to the semi-finals after finishing fourth in her heat (13.11sec).