The IAAF and Local Organising Committee (LOC) Press Conference traditionally held on the eve of the opening day of the World Indoor Championships was held this afternoon at the Turkish Olympic House.
In attendance were IAAF President Lamine Diack, IAAF General Secretary Essar Gabriel, IAAF Communications Director Nick Davies and Mehmet Terzi, President of the Turkish Athletics Federation and Local Organising Committee.
The athletes in attendance were:
Tatyana Chernova (RUS) - Heptathlon World champion and World Indoor bronze medallist at Pentathlon
Meseret Defar (ETH) - Winner of four consecutive World Indoor 3000m titles, former Olympic and World champion
Ashton Eaton (USA) - Heptathlon World record holder, Decathlon World silver medallist
Karin Melis Mey (TUR) - World Championships Long Jump bronze medallist
Sally Pearson (AUS) - Reigning World Outdoor 100m Hurdles champion and World Athlete of the Year
Liu Xiang (CHN) - Former World Indoor, World Outdoor and Olympic High Hurdles champion
In this second of two parts, we summarise what Meseret Defar, Tatyana Chernova and Ashton Eaton had to say.
Meseret Defar (ETH) –
On arriving in Istanbul as the fastest 3000m runner in 2012 and what it means in her bid for a fifth straight World indoor title:
“This World Championships is very special for me because I already won four times. So it’s a very important World Championships.
“As I’ve already won four times, I expect to win again. I’ve been preparing especially for this competition.”
On looking towards the Olympic Games:
“This year I feel good, I’m healthy, so this looks good for the Olympics.”
Ashton Eaton (USA) -
On his first World record in the Heptathlon, set at the 2010 NCAA Championships in the USA, at the same time that compatriot Bryan Clay was winning the World title in Doha:
“I was in an American University championships, and I had no idea what the World record was. And I didn’t know that I was on pace until maybe the second day. And all my university teammates kept saying, ‘Don’t tell him! Don’t tell him! He won’t break the World record if we tell him!’
“But then I knew it in the back of my mind. I think it was being in university and being a young kid - I just love the sport. And it was an easy – well I wouldn’t say it was easy – but it was just very fun for me.”
On reportedly being in the best shape of his life:
“Honestly I do feel very good. I think I’m at that age. I’m 24 years old, I feel – what do you want to call it – sprightly and just energetic and I’m excited to be here. The Heptathlon is ‘my’ event – speed, jumps. That’s what I’m good at. It’s only has one throw, the Shot Put. So it’s hard for me to screw up in this event.
“Going into the meet I feel really, really, really good. My training’s where I want it to be. Being in my second year professionally, I don’t have to worry about school. I can just focus on athletics. I’m very excited. I just want to start tomorrow.”
On which is his better multi-event competition:
“I think I’m definitely better at the Heptathlon than I am at the Decathlon. That’s just because it takes time for me. I think it takes time for everyone, but in things like the javelin I’m nowhere near the level of the Cubans or Trey Hardee.
“Things are coming around for me it just takes time. Unfortunately I didn’t start the multi-events when I was younger. But at the same time it helps me.”
Tatyana Chernova (RUS) -
On the attention her competition this weekend, and her rivalry with Jessica Ennis, is receiving:
“It’s nice for me and very good for this competition to see such strong athletes here. The girls are showing very good results this season and this winter. I’m just looking forward to competing tomorrow morning.
On the possibility of the 5000-point barrier being broken:
“I think that’s a dream for all athletes, to break a World record. Here (pointing to Eaton) is the man who did it, and I would like to be like him and others. We train a lot, we want to show good performances and results, so if all goes well, I think we’ll have very good results here in Istanbul.”
On what it would mean for the Olympics if she were to beat Jessica Ennis this weekend:
“Here we have a Pentathlon in indoor competition. But I have strong events in the summer, the 200 metres and the javelin. So I have reserves for the Olympic Games in London.
“So if I show here good results in each event, it will be great for my first day. Because I lost 100 to 150 points to Jessica after the end of the first day (at the World Championships in Daegu). And if I can do well here, it will be very good for my summer season.”
On being in Turkey and Istanbul:
“I’ve been to Turkey now three times. I like this country very much. I’ve spent a holiday here and I think it’s fantastic that Istanbul has a World Championships this year.”
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF