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May 17, 2014

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Rebel Robles keen to run for Cuba at 2015 Beijing worlds

“I WANT to go, but I cannot say I can go,” said Dayron Robles when asked whether he will represent Cuba at the 2015 world championships in Beijing.

Robles is in Shanghai for the 2014 IAAF Diamond League to be staged at Shanghai Stadium tomorrow. The former Olympic champion, an arch-rival of Chinese superstar hurdler Liu Xiang, told Shanghai Daily yesterday that he would love to compete against Liu again at the worlds next year. However, things are not in his hands due to his poor relationship with the Cuban athletics federation.

Robles said he broke with the country’s track and field governing body last January, when he announced his exit from the national team to get some time and space for himself.

He also cited “team reasons” for his quit decision but did not elaborate, saying simply that it’s “not something good to speak about.”

“After the (2012) Olympics, I told the team I wanted to train alone and find myself space to think, to figure out what I’m going to do,” Robles said, adding that it was a strange feeling at first not being able to represent his country.

Robles is currently training with a club instead of with the national team. He has to operate everything from coaching to medical care with his personal team, which comprises four to five core members.

“The training itself is not much different. But I have to check the expenses as now I have to pay for everything. I’ve never done this before, so it’s all a new experience,” he said.

“I never said I would retire or am finished with the federation and the national team. It was federation that said they don’t want me.”

The 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medalist hoped the Shanghai event would help bring back the sweet memories and motivation so that he can find his physical rhythm again and stay at a high competitive level.

“My last competition in China was the Beijing Games, and I’m extremely happy to be back after seven years,” he said.

With Liu still hobbled by his foot injury, Robles has a new Chinese rival to contend with in Shanghai ­­— Xie Wenjun, who also trains under Sun Haiping, Liu’s long-term coach.

The men’s 110-meter hurdle, scheduled at 9:50pm, will be the finale of tomorrow’s event where Robles will also face reigning world champion David Oliver of the United States.


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