Sally Pearson at the pre-meeting press conference in Paris (Jean-Pierre Durand) © Copyright
Feature Paris, France

Pearson, Rudisha, Bekele and Lavillenie meet the press in Paris – Samsung Diamond League

Several athletes met with the press in the French capital throughout the day today, the eve of the Meeting Areva, the seventh stop of the Samsung Diamond League series. Below is a partial transcript of some of the highlights.

David Rudisha (KEN), World 800m champion, World record holder, 2012 world leader:

On his thoughts on the race and his first visit to Paris:

I know a lot of people are expecting a fast race. And maybe a World record. But the World record is tough. You need a lot of things to be in place. Everything has to be perfect.

My progress has been very good. I’ve been coming up nicely. Everybody has seen my progress and are expecting good things to come.

On this season so far:

Nairobi – This year I didn’t have any problems in my training. Last year had an injury coming back from Australia. But this year I’m happy we’ve been doing everything nicely, without any problem. Even going to New York, I wasn’t expecting to run 1:41. I was planning to do 1:42 and then building up slowly. I just found myself flowing nicely and I did 1:41. And that tells me I’m in good shape. And to run in Nairobi 1:42 at altitude is not something easy. I was just feeling comfortable. So I’m in good shape.

Comparing his 2010 and 2012 seasons:

In July I was already running 1:41. I think I’m in that kind of shape and I’m confident.

The important thing is that once I’m in good shape I’m in a position to maintain it for a long period of time. Maybe I can maintain it through the end of the season.

Sally Pearson (AUS), World 100m Hurdles champion, 2012 world leader at 12.49 (twice):

On where her fitness is at this point of the season:

Now it’s just about taking the body over and reminding it that it still has a job to do, and making sure that it can run fast when it has to and it can relax when it needs to afterwards. Just reminding yourself that you have four-and-a-half weeks to go to the Olympics.

On what sort of time she is expecting on Friday night?

You always want to run fast when you come to a race especially when you’re racing against the best in the world. You always want to make sure you’re up for the challenge and you win. And that’s what I’m prepared to do tomorrow night. It would be nice to bring my world lead down. No matter what I’ll be pushing myself 100 per cent.

On how she believes she is different from other hurdlers:

At the moment I think my technique is the best in the world. You’d probably be surprised but my run speed is faster than my flat time. At the moment I’m trying to get my flat time quicker.

On who will be her chief opposition in London:

Everyone that’s on the track really. (Laughs)

The Americans are always a big threat. And Tiffany Porter from the UK. When they get to major championships they’re always at their best. So I have to remain better than them to beat them. That’s how I remind myself that you have to stay hungry, you have to stay wanting it. Because you know these girls are constantly fighting to get faster and faster. At the same time they’re not stepping on the track to finish second just like I’m not either.

On the World record:

Every time you race you want to run faster, you want to run as fast as you can. But at the same time it not my aim at the moment. Maybe in a year that’s not the Olympics.

If it comes it comes. I’m in shape for it. And by the Olympics I’ll definitely be in shape to run that fast. But it’s just a matter doing it. You can’t guarantee anything in the sport of athletics.

Kenenisa Bekele (ETH), reigning Olympic 5000 and 10,000m champion:

On the importance of the race tomorrow night:

This race is very important, it will decide with athletes will be selected from Ethiopia for the Olympics. I need to be in the first three (among Ethiopians) and at the same time I have to run a good time.

On his fitness and confidence:

I will have to run under 13 minutes. I can do that. I’m feeling confident. I think it will be a good race. A great challenge.

I’m improving from my last race. I’m improving a lot. I hope I will do better tomorrow.

Renaud Lavillenie (FRA), World indoor champion, two-time European Pole Vault champion

On the competition in Helsinki where he cleared a world-leading 5.97m to successfully defend his European title:

The competition in Helsinki was very hard, very exhausting but I was ready for that. After Helsinki I took some time to rest. But I’m very happy to be in competition. I prefer to be in competition that sitting around at home.

On the competition being a Helsinki rematch against runner-up Bjorn Otto:

The European Championships are over. The main goal for Friday night is the Diamond League. I want to stay in the lead until the end. It would be great to win the Diamond Race for a third time in a row. This is the main goal. I also want to jump at least 5.80. And I know I won’t be alone with the three Germans (Bjorn Otto, Malte Mohr, Raphael Holzdeppe) in the competition.

Justin Gatlin (USA), US 100m champion, World indoor 60m champion:

On his victory at the U.S. Olympic Trials where he ran a 9.80 personal best:

I just wanted to go out there and execute from the start, from the gun, and run a good middle phase and a strong end. I wasn't really looking for a target time but just to be dominant in the race. It felt really good. I think I can run faster.

On the Paris 100m:

Outside of the Jamaicans who aren’t here, it’s going to be a stellar field. And you want good solid competition going into London. I want to run a good time here.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF