Rudisha will move up for 1 race later in the year
Courtesy of the IAAF, with editing by LetsRun.com
Doha, 09/05/2013 – Some of the most prestigious athletes taking part in the Doha 2013 Diamond League attended the official IAAF Diamond League Press Conference. Those attending included Qatari Olympic medallist Mutaz Barshim; multiple Olympic Champions Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica and Allyson Felix of the USA; Olympic Champion and World Record Holder David Rudisha; Javelin Throw Olympic Champion Keshorn Walcott; and Triple Jump Olympic Champion Christian Taylor.
As the fourth edition of the Doha Diamond League is getting closer, these Olympic Champions, in addition to local favourite Barshim, are likely to be drawing the most attention: and in a year culminating with the World Championships in Moscow, this summer, the first steps of the season are going to be under extra scrutiny.
One of the biggest stars to grace the Doha scene tomorrow will be 800m Olympic Champion and World Record Holder David Rudisha. Following on his stellar 2012, the Kenyan is aiming for more of the same.
“I haven’t changed much in my approach to training and competing. It is obvious it works for me, so no big changes were required. I sat down with my coach and we planned this season: we are looking at perhaps one race at a slighter longer distance, 1km, a distance I have never run before.”
On his famous run that saw him shred the rest of the field to pieces, the 2-lap master admits breaking the record was not his most pressing concern.
“In London, I didn’t know whether I had it in me to break the world record, but I knew I could run a 1.41 and that’d make it very hard for everyone else to beat me. It’s hard to break records at major Championships as the pressure there is on winning medals, not setting times.”
An incredible battle over the 200m could be brewing, with both Fraser-Pryce and Felix likely to cross swords over the distance.
“I am looking to execute a perfect 200m tomorrow” says the Jamaican. “This distance has grown onto me – at first, I found difficult adapting to distributing my energies throughout the race. But I put in some hard work and I learnt, and now I enjoy the strategic part of it. I am definitely looking forward to doing both the events in Moscow, but I have the National Championships in June to think about first before I focus on Moscow.”
Her rival – who dominated the Doha meeting with ten wins in ten races in Qatar – will compete in the 400m tomorrow, but is relishing the idea of a showdown over the half-lap distance.
“Doha is a very successful place for me and I hope to continue this trend” says the multiple Olympic Champion. “I am hoping for a good run tomorrow. Shelly-Ann’s performance on the 200m will be interesting – she has incredible speed over 100m so she’ll be definitely strong, and that would makes for a very interesting race to watch!”
The locals will also have plenty to cheer about as Qatari hero Mutaz Barshim aims to break the 2.40 barrier for the first time in his career. After 2012 thrusted him on the world stage, there is more to come from the London 2012 medallist.
“I aim to have a good start to the season,” says Mutaz, who warns against reading too much into early-season results. The most important thing for the jumper is to be able to regain full fitness. “I am overcoming the back problems that I developed in late 2011 and caused a stress fracture just one week before the Olympics. I am not rushing my recovery, though – I have time and it’s important I heal fully.”
Injury worries were not a factor in the amazing 2012 seasons of Keshorn Walcott and Christian Taylor, who went on to triumph on the biggest stages. But while Walcott’s success was beyond his own expectations, he is careful not to let himself get carried away.
“The World Junior Championship in Barcelona was my main objective at the start of the season, whereas the Olympics were more of a surprise,” says the Trinidad & Tobago athlete, who added the gold in London to his victory in Barcelona little more than a month before. “I want to keep improving, I am still young and when I look at icons in my discipline like Andreas Thorkildsen, this gives me a lot of motivation to keep working hard and achieve even more.”
Long jumper Taylor doesn’t struggle with finding reasons to train hard either: “Keeping my motivation after winning in London was easy. I wouldn’t be here if I weren’t motivated – I am grateful for each opportunity I get and I don’t take them for granted. I think having all this success in a relatively short window of two years has been great for my confidence. I am totally committed and motivated to defend my World and Olympic titles.”