Cuba: Dayron Robles Sees Himself as his Main Rival
- Submitted by: admin
- 08 / 11 / 2009
The great duels the Cuban had with the Chinese Liu was interrupted at the Beijing Olympics, a few weeks after Robles broke the Asian's world record with a time of 12.87 seconds.
Liu - the only man in history along with Robles to run the distance faster than 12.90 seconds - limped out with a nagging Achilles tendon injury ahead of his Olympic heat which shocked the whole host nation.
A hero in China, on par with NBA star Yao Ming, the 2004 Olympic and 2007 world champion Liu had to give up his dream of getting the gold medal at home and is not planning to return to competitive athletics until next month at the earliest.
Frenchman Ladji Doucoure, the 2005 world champion, will also miss the Berlin race due to injury.
Top among his probable rivals, Robles will have to worry about US athletes David Payne and Terrence Trammell, first and second in the US trials in Eugene.
"There are always five or six Americans," says the Guantanamo native Robles, 22, without appearing to be too concerned over their presence. "The world is pretty calm. There isn't so much violence, as I put it."
The hurdler, who always goes on the track with his black glasses on, is currently one of the symbols of Cuban sport. Cuba has in recent years experienced a sharp decline in its results in traditional strongholds like boxing and baseball, with many defections.
Robles himself did not have an easy start to the year, with a thigh injury in February which prevented him from competing for months.
In the spring he carried out two weeks of training at high altitude in Ecuador, where he frequently travels, and he later completed his preparation in Spain.
In June, he returned to the track in full strength, and he claimed the title at the central American and Caribbean championships at home in Havana. He remained unbeaten in a series of European events leading up to the world championships, and in Ostrava he got the best time of the season, 13.04 seconds.
"At this minute I feel in very good form," said Robles, who vowed to "give my utmost" in Berlin.
"If I tell you I am going there to lose, I would be lying to you," he said amid laughs.
"The world championship is always going to be something special and however many editions come along it is always going to be special, even more so when you are still missing that title. You are always out to get what you haven't got."