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 first of two parts, we summarise what Sally Pearson, Liu Xiang, and Karin Melis Mey had to say.
Sally Pearson (AUS) -
On her form coming in to Istanbul 2012:
“I’m in very good shape. At our Olympic Trials last weekend I ran 12.49 (seconds) in rainy conditions.
“I think it helped coming off the 2011 world championships in such good shape. So I came into the domestic season not injured and ready to run fast.”
On why she is running world indoors for first time in Istanbul:
“The indoor season is on at the same time as our Australian outdoor season. I support the domestic season. I enjoy racing in Australia.
“At the same time, I also enjoy racing against the best in the world, so I decided to come over and compete.
“Other years at world indoor time, I’ve been injured or not in such good shape. So this is a good time to come and run my first world indoor championships.”
On what sort of time her 12.49 translates to at 60 hurdles:
“I’m not really into that sort of statistic. I just go out and run as fast as I can. My podiatrist is a big hurdles fan and he reckons it translates to 7.63. I don’t know: it’s a race and you just have to go out and run it.
“I don’t know how to compare outdoors to indoors. I’m just going to try and treat it like a normal track. It’s just getting out of the blocks and jumping the hurdles – except you run into a bag at the end of it.
On the pressure to replicate her performance in Daegu (12.28, 0.07 outside the world record):
“I’ve had that question a lot, but it’s not pressure if you’re in good shape and you’re confident.
“The pressure people are putting on you is what you want to do for yourself anyway. Every time you step on a track you want to win.
On whether she is doing the 60m flat as well:
Liu Xiang (CHN) -
On what being a former world indoor champion and running a personal best 7.41 seconds means for his chances this year:
“In 2003 in Birmingham I was a bronze medallist, in Budapest the next year a silver, and in Valencia in 2008 it was gold.
“This year is a new challenge. This world indoor championships is the first one since I changed my technique from eight steps to the first hurdle to seven. So I hope that I can run fast.”
On being disqualified for a false start in Stockholm:
“The 7.41 in Birmingham was a good result, but then in Stockholm I made a mistake with the start. It was my fault but it is also a warning to be more focused on the start and that I can improve and run a better race.”
On defending champion Dayron Robles (CUB) being out injured:
“I’m sorry that neither Dayron nor David Oliver (USA) is here because both are faster indoors than me. For me, the indoor distance is not my strongest, because the first 60 is not the best part of my race. It’s a challenge for me to improve it.
“But there are many (other) high-standard athletes competing here, so I must be focused on making the final and getting a better result.”
On comparing his preparation for the 2004 indoors and Istanbul and what that means for his Olympic preparation:
“From 2004 until now I’ve kept a high-standard of training and competition, thought it’s a great pity I couldn’t compete in Beijing.
“I just broke the Asian record, so I’m in good condition. It’s important to complete my training and do well in the London Olympics. It’s not easy to win a (big) competition, it’s even harder to remain at a high standard of competition for a long time. I hope I can run still faster.”
On the difference seven steps to the first hurdle makes:
“In my opinion, seven steps could (make you) faster than eight, so I trained to accommodate a new technique. I think it could help me to run sub-7.40 here and help run faster outdoors.”
Karen Mey Melis (TUR) -
On jumping a season’s best in Birmingham:
“I felt perfectly OK with my result in Birmingham (6.66 metres). I am coming back from two years with injury. I will just focus on doing my best, that is my aim.”
On how she feels about the world indoor championships being in Istanbul:
“I am proud. I think this championship is already doing so much for young people in Turkey. Just imagine if we had the Olympic Games!
On the pressure of being a home crowd favourite and being the most recent Turkish athlete to win a world championships medal (bronze at Berlin 2009):
“It’s not just the people watching who want you to win a medal. It’s what you want for yourself, too.”
Len Johnson for the IAAF