Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Robles just made the 110 hurdles in Beijing an even bigger event

Robles just made the 110 hurdles in Beijing an even bigger event

With national hero Liu Xiang, the 110-meter hurdles was always going to be the biggest race at the Beijing Olympics. After running the fifth-fastest time in history, Dayron Robles showed the outcome will be far from a foregone conclusion.
Now, the two will come face to face on Friday at a meet in Liu's home town Shanghai for a pre-Olympic showdown.
At 20, the Cuban let nerves get the better of him when he faltered to fourth at the world championships early this month. Since, he has been on an ever hotter winning streak.
He capped it with a continental record at the World Athletics Final on Sunday, and he did so after causing a false start at first. With his 12.92 seconds, he led a top class field well behind. David Payne was second in 13.08 and fellow American Terrence Trammell was third in 13.15 _ huge margins in a race which is usually decided by hundreds of seconds. Liu was the only star to miss the meet.
The reigning Olympic champion and world record holder at 12.88, Liu added the gold medal at the World Championship that ended earlier this month in Osaka, Japan.
It is where Robles saw the limits to his amazing potential. He could not deal with the pressure. "I never thought pressure would have such an influence on my performance. I felt sad like never before."
If Liu proved something this year, it is that he can deal with pressure. With the hype already reaching fever pitch in China, Liu stayed cool and won his first world title with a classic, near-flawless race.
It even left Robles agape. "Liu has such confidence in himself. He runs perfect. That is what I miss," Robles said.
Wrecked by surging nerves, Robles now knows what to do about it.
"The most important thing is mental and psychological preparation. I will work with my coach, my mental coach, doctor and physio. It will be team work."
He knows what he is up against. "It will be the No. 1 race," he said, with 100,000 fans all screaming for Liu. "It will be a very hard fight because China will do anything it can to get the Olympic gold."
Robles is quickly raising his profile with both a five-race unbeaten streak and the top time on Sunday.
He feels the Liu's perfection is within his grasp. "Next year I can get to that level," he said.


Updated : 2021-10-19 16:20 GMT+08:00