Winning four of the six races he entered and posting the world’s fastest time over 60m hurdles since 2004 sum up Dayron Robles’ successful first full indoor campaign, although he believes there’s still a lot to learn and that he should focus on concentration.
STOP PRESS - Robles opens outdoors with 13.35 sec run
Here’s what the 20-year old Cuban prospect told us in his March online diary for the IAAF:
“Being my first full indoor season, things went out pretty well. I am happy with my results. I did not break any record or attain other goals I had in mind, but I am happy I finished injury-free. I had some muscle pain at the beginning of the tour, but I felt better as the season continued”.
Robles vs. Liu Xiang
The two duels with China's 2004 Olympic champion and World record holder Liu Xiang provided one of the highlights of the 2007 indoor campaign. Winning with the world’s best time since 2004 (7.38 seconds) in Stuttgart (Feb 3) and losing by a short margin in Karlsruhe (Feb 11) “boosted my confidence and I know anything could happen this summer. I learned many things for my career.”
The 2006 World Indoor Championships silver medallist came just a hundredth of a second short of the Cuban indoor record, held by Anier Garcia since 2000. This time moved up to the 8th spot on the all-time indoor lists.
“I was lucky to sit down and spend time with the world's best athlete in your own event. He is my role model and my target. He is the best man over the hurdles and is the man to beat. The summer season should be as competitive as it was during the winter”.
The first part of his training period will culminate this weekend with his first 110m hurdles race of 2007 at the Fortun Memorial in Camaguey, central-eastern Cuba.
With the Pan American Games and the World Championships coming up, “I will have to train hard. I want to train without rush and pressure. I will have a very demanding season with the Golden League also on the programme”.
“If you add the Americans, some Europeans and French Ladji Doucouré, I can anticipate very close races this summer”.
Apart from my start, finish and movements over the hurdles, “I have to pay special attention to concentration. I am a newcomer on the international circuit. Sometimes I think I am in a youth race, but it is totally different and I am racing against the world's best. It affected a bit me during the indoor season”.
New places visited
“Apart from my competitive commitments and despite the cold temperatures, I could visit new places and was happy to return to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. I raced for the first time in Sweden-twice- and England. I was impressed by the Stockholm's indoor arena.
“I was happy to return to Stuttgart, where I equalled the CAC and Cuban 110m hurdles record of 13.00 last year. I stayed at the same hotel and this time I was fortunate to be the winner.”
“I also enjoyed my stay in Germany overall and returning to Paris, when I had the second breakthrough run of my career at last year’s Golden League. I was also happy with the performances of my compatriots this winter. I rarely saw my team-mates in Europe, but I want to congratulate Yargelis Savigne, David Giralt, Osniel Tosca, Yoandri Betanzos and Victor Moya for their good results.”
“I love my people in Cuba. Many people don't know me, but I want to thank them for following and supporting my career. Thanks for your support and I will comment more to you in April.”
Robles and his coach Santiago Antunez were invited for France’s National Sprints and Hurdles Clinic in Poitou Charentes, 10 – 11 March.
Click on the following links to read Dayron's earlier diary entries: