Feature

Liu Xiang, Pearson and Greene meet the press in London – Samsung Diamond League

Sally Pearson meets the press in London (Mark Shearman )Sally Pearson meets the press in London (Mark Shearman ) © Copyright
London, UKHurdlers Liu Xiang, Sally Pearson and Dai Greene met the press ahead of the Aviva London Grand Prix, the eighth stop on the Samsung Diamond League circuit, when all the talk was of that other London athletics meeting in three weeks’ time.

Liu Xiang, 2004 Olympic 110m Hurdles champion and second quickest in the world in 2012 -

On why he hasn’t raced since the Eugene Diamond League meeting in early June:
"I’ve been training hard, but training is different to competition. I came here to get some competition before the Olympics."

On whether preparing for the London Olympics has been different to 2008, and what advice he’d give to British athletes:
"To me it’s more or less the same thing. There was more pressure in China, of course, I always try to use the pressure for motivation.

"Of course, for every athlete when they compete in their own country there is pressure but my advice to the British athletes is to focus on the technical things, on their own preparation and don’t think about success.

"Athletes who reach the Olympic Games are already very good, so I wish all the British athletes good luck."

On whether he is surprised by the form of his main rivals at the London Grand Prix, Aries Merritt and Jason Richardson:
"I wasn’t surprised at all because they are very, very good hurdlers. I will need to focus to get a good result. The 110m hurdles is an event where you can’t make a mistake."

On whether he is concerned about running in the rain in London:
"You can never be afraid of bad weather because it’s the same for everyone. You need to be in good shape and try your best. Of course, no one likes to run in the rain."

On what he learned from not being able to compete at the Beijing Olympic Games:
"Of course, I learned a lot from the last Olympics. It’s not easy to come back but I have my targets to motivate myself.

"Sometimes it’s good to have frustrations, they can help you to be stronger."

Sally Pearson, Australia’s World 100m Hurdles champion and world leader

On the balance between running fast and staying injury free ahead of the Games:
"I don’t want to wrap myself in cotton wool but it is only three and a half weeks till my heat and I don’t want to get injured.

"I have to tell myself that my goal is to run fast at the biggest sporting event in the world."

On living with family in Tonbridge, Kent, not far from London in the run-up to the Games:
"Going away from Australia has taken the pressure off and helped me to control things in my life better in this period.

"It’s certainly good to have family here, and that support group around me. It gives me a home environment in the lead-up to the Olympics. I’ve been there about a month now, living with my aunt and my husband.

"It’s good because I am not noticed in Kent. I think I left Australia at a good time because the pressure was starting to build up. If I’d stayed it would have been overwhelming."

On whether she’s feeling confident:
"I keep telling myself I’m going to be OK and just to enjoy what I do. I’m definitely not lacking in confidence but I’ve got to keep telling myself that I can do this, that this is what I do, what I’ve trained for so long.

"It’s not about confidence, it’s about being happy and relaxed and enjoying things."

Dai Greene, World 400m Hurdles champion and second quickest in 2012.

On how he’s coping in the build-up to the Olympics:
"I appreciate all the interest. I’m very much enjoying things at the moment. I’m training really well and I competed well in Paris [at the Meeting Areva last Friday].

"It’s been a tough few months to get to this point but if I have another good run here my confidence will be sky high.

"I knew I’d be scrutinised more this year as a World champion but I’ve got good people around me and they help me focus on the bigger picture."

On his performance in Paris when he was second to Javier Culson in a season’s best:
"I knew I was in good shape but I didn’t know I’d go quite that fast yet. I think the British record could have gone in Paris if the conditions had been better. There had been thunderstorms and there was a very wet track.

"At the Games I know that I will find a better rhythm as I go through the rounds. Mentally I’ve accepted that I will have to go better than the record so it’s just a matter of doing it."

On his rivalry with Culson:
"I think Culson’s probably the best in the world at the first five hurdles, and I’m probably the best at the last five, which makes for a great race when we’re both in form.

"I’m probably not as fast as him but I’ve got great strength. It should make for a great race when we go head-to-head here and at the Olympic Games."

Matthew Brown for the IAAF