Robles drops friend on gold trail

 

Havana

Cuba's world record holder Dayron Robles says he is going to give the cold shoulder to his Chinese friend Liu Xiang in London, where he aims to become only the third man to win the 110m hurdles at successive Olympic Games.

"Off the track we're friends but in competitions I need to win and this is a war always," Robles declared, albeit with a smile. "But Liu Xiang, wherever he competes, is a rival worthy of admiration for his consistency and sporting discipline."

Robles will be looking to avoid all racing contact after his bitter experience at last year's World Championships final in Daegu where the Cuban, who finished first, was disqualified for obstructing the Chinese. It meant the American Jason Richardson was awarded the gold medal and Liu, who had come in third, took silver.

Robles, the Pan-American Games champion, is taking his last strides as a hurdler at the Olympics before retirement at the age of 25. He has been plagued by injuries that have hampered his chances of competing at his best since winning gold at the 2008 Beijing Games, and had to pull out of last weekend's Diamond League meeting in New York – which would have been his racing debut in the United States – with a leg injury.

"We know all the rival athletes want to win a medal and are preparing hard to get to the Olympic Games in good form," Robles said. "I'm looking to achieve a great performance and find my optimum form, factors that give me confidence to reach my peak condition," he added, adjusting his trademark spectacles.

He practises his technique under a searing Caribbean sun every morning as he prepares for the challenge from his well-known rivals and emerging Cuban talent Orlando Ortega, who beat him at a recent meeting in Havana.

The only two men so far to retain their Olympic 110m hurdles title are the Americans Lee Calhoun (Melbourne 1956 and Rome 1960) and Roger Kingdom (Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988). The 6ft 3in Cuban is one of Latin America's strongest medal hopes in London despite failing to medal at the last two World Championships, in Berlin in 2009 before that disqualification in Daegu.

The Americans Richardson, David Oliver, who won bronze in Beijing, and the world 60m hurdles champion Aries Merritt are his chief rivals along with the 2004 Olympic champion Liu.

Liu is in good form, having recovered from 2008 surgery, and won at last weekend's Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Oregon, unofficially equalling Robles's world-record time of 12.87sec – he was helped by a tailwind of 2.4m per sec, above the allowable limit of 2.0m per sec. Robles's best time this year is 13.18sec.

"I am my own rival, when I'm in good form there are chances that rivals will worry more about you than you about them," said Robles, who is in a proud tradition of Cuban hurdlers. Anier Garcia won gold at the 2000 Sydney Games and then bronze in Athens, while Alejandro Casanas took silver in Montreal in 1976 and Moscow in 1980.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
Fans take a selfie with Ed Miliband in Kempston, near Bedford, on Tuesday
election 2015
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Accountant - London - £48,000 - 12 month FTC

£40000 - £48000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: International Acc...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds This i...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power