Dayron Robles says he’s ready to return to competition next week, the Cuban’s first meet since pulling out of the world championships last summer in Berlin.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, the 2008 Olympic champion and world record-holder said little about the left-leg injury that forced him out of the semifinals of the 110-meter hurdles at the worlds. Robles pulled up injured after hitting the first three hurdles.
He returns to competition on Wednesday in an indoor meet in Duesseldorf, Germany.
Robles says his eyes are on the March 12-14 world indoor championships in Doha, Qatar, where he is likely to go head-to-head with rival Liu Xiang of China.
“Liu’s presence makes me happy,” Robles said. “But my main worry is me, it’s not Liu or other rivals. I have a promise I’ve made to myself and I will look to fulfill it.”
Liu is also coming back from injury.
The 2004 Olympic champion and former world record-holder was unable to run the first heat in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing because of a right Achilles’ tendon injury that required surgery.
Though Robles is an Olympic champion and holds the world record of 12.87 seconds, he has never won a world championship — indoor or outdoor. Next week, he’ll be aiming at the 60-meter indoor mark of 7.30 held by Britain’s Colin Jackson. Robles has run 7.33.
Robles’ coach, Santiago Antunez, says he’s been concentrating on stretching, trying to add flexibility to the Cuban.
“We have stressed stretching in our training,” Antunez said. “Dayron is a guy that goes all out, even in training.” He described hurdling as “very traumatic because the athlete jumps a hurdle and then runs full speed for three steps before another hurdle. This increases the risk of injury.”
“An injury also sows doubt in an athlete’s mind,” Antunez added. “Even without realizing it.”