Reigning World championship Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Vivian Cheruiyot and Matthias de Zordo meet with the press in Monaco today during the build-up to this evening’s World Athletics Gala. Here are some of the highlights:
Usain Bolt (JAM), World 200m champion -
“I’ve been back in training for three weeks, and things are going good. I started training off without any injuries this season so I’m able to do everything my coach wants. We’ve been training at high intensity, so it’s been going good so far.”
On training with Yohan Blake, the World 100m champion:
“He’s my training partner, we train together every day. We do everything together. We work hard, so nothing’s really changed.”
“I never take one person as a rival. It’s always the other seven persons on the track with me. Yohan is definitely a great athlete. But it’s an Olympic year and every Olympic year athletes always pop up. So I focus on everyone.”
After a post-season break, how tough is it to get going again with training resumes?
“It’s never tough, it’s just how determined you are and what you want from the season. For me, I was definitely looking forward to getting back to training. Strangely I do miss training when I’m not training. Sometimes I do look forward to returning. This season is a big season so you have to get ahead of the game.”
Is Yohan Blake capable of breaking the 200m WR?
“I’ve said this to Yohan already and have said to a lot of my friends: the 200 is my favourite event. And I won’t let Yohan beat me over 200 metres. In the 100 maybe, he might have a chance, but the 200 is my favourite event. I’ve worked hard to perfect it over the years. I told him already that I won’t let it happen.”
On his false start in the Daegu 100m final:
“I made a mistake in Daegu. I just can’t make that mistake again. I was more focused on trying to get back into shape last season. So I wasn’t really focused on going out there and competing at my best because I was down and I had to work my way back up.”
“When I got to the world championships my start was finally coming together. And I got a little bit too excited. I was just trying hard throughout the season to get my start back. I think this season I’m going to be in great shape leading into the Olympics so it won’t be a matter of getting my start. It’ll be a matter of just going out there and racing.”
How competitive are he and Blake in training?
“We always compete against each other in training, always. From the moment he walked into out camp he’s been competing. So it’s nothing new really. Sometimes he beats me in training, but it doesn’t matter. He’s a real competitor so sometimes I have to explain to him that he’s got to relax a little bit. Like when coach says run some 150s in 17 (seconds). And he wants to run them in 15. I think he’s just young and excited.”
“We compete a lot in training but we never bet. He’s still trying to beat me over 300 metres, but no betting. I think that the next competition in training, seeing who’s better over 300 metres.”
“I shouldn’t be saying this but I think he works a little bit harder than me. Watching him, the way he came through high school, they worked him really hard. And he’s got that work and attitude in him. He’s fun to be around, we laugh every day.”
Would you consider running on the 4x400m relay in London?
“If I’m fit and I think I can do well (in the 400), I definitely would want to try if I can help.”
After Blake’s race in Brussels, Bolt said he was ‘shocked’. Does he still feel that way?
“No, I’ve gotten over it. When you guys asked me what’s the next big thing coming out of Jamaica, I told you that Yohan Blake is going to be one of those great athletes. Because I saw him in training. Initially I was shocked because as he said he’s not really a great corner runner so I was a little shocked by the time. But he’s a great athlete. With great athletes you can expect anything because in time great things come with hard work. He works hard, and he showed it with that time.”
Yohan Blake (JAM), World 100m champion –
On his work ethic:
“I’ve known for a long time that my body can take it so I work pretty hard. Sometimes (Bolt) calls me ‘The Beast’.
“It’s not about beating Usain, it’s about beating the world and doing well in the Olympics. There are a lot of Jamaicans in London and it will be exciting.”
Have his 2011 performances added pressure for next year?
“No, we have a great coach who has prepared us for this moment. So I don’t think I feel pressure going into the season. I train with Usain so I can’t be pressured.”
After his 19.26 performance in Brussels, will he now race more over 200m?
“I’m not really sure. It all depends on what coach Mills has to say about all that. I’m not fully capable of running the turn as yet so I’ll probably be working on that.”
Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN), World 5000/10,000m champion
Is she considering moving up to the marathon?
“Maybe in four or five years I will move up to the Marathon. Right now I want to stay active on the track for a little bit longer. I'm very happy with track.”
What was it that set this season apart from other seasons?
“Because of all the support from my husband and my manager. And all the very hard training. So I knew I had to try my level best.”
Can she duplicate everything in 2012?
"I don't think it will be that difficult. So long as my body is in good health, and that I am not sick, I will be able to train just as hard.”
Matthias De Zordo (GER), World Javelin Throw champion -
With the Olympics approaching, does he feel more pressure as the reigning World champion?
“Not really. There's enough other good throwers in the world who could get the gold medal next year – Andreas Thorkildsen, for example, and maybe some other guys. Maybe Tero (Pitkamaki), if he is in good shape.”
“At the Olympic Games it will depend on who is best prepared on that day.”