London gold boosts Sanchez ahead of Russia World Champs
FELIX Sanchez of the Dominican Republic says taking his second Olympic Games 400m hurdles gold medal in London last year has boosted his confidence as he tries to ride the momentum to capture a third IAAF World Championships title in Moscow, Russia, this August.
The New York-born Sanchez won the 2012 Olympic title eight years after he first did so in Athens, and in the same time of 47.63 seconds.
Sanchez, who won World Championships 400m hurdles titles in 2001 and 2003, for several years struggled with injuries following his win in the Greek capital, placing in runner-up spots or off the medal podium in subsequent Games and World Championships.
The athlete, 35, who was the special guest at last weekend's RJR Sports Foundation Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards, told the Jamaica Observer that he never lost hope.
"As years pass you keep training, you keep hoping and slowly you see the window of opportunity closing, but I was blessed to be able to seize the moment and put it all together in an Olympic final," he said.
Sanchez will be starting his 2013 season indoors with races this month and in February before moving outdoors in his preparation for the top athletics event on the calendar this year.
"...And see how things go. Slow and steady and I know if I'm healthy at the right time I'll be able to do my best. The key is to be healthy."
As another World Championships draws close, Sanchez is hoping to use that fuel from London to drive him forward.
"Absolutely. Obviously the goal is to win. Everyone trains to win and we do our best and you got to first make the final and arrive healthy and in good shape and anything can happen once you're in the final," he said.
"I've showed over the years, despite injury and showing up slightly out of form I still managed to make a sixth straight World Championships final. Obviously this is a boost of confidence and we'll see if it's enough to get me a medal."
The athlete, who has competed at the National Stadium at the Jamaica International Invitational and also attended the ISSA Boys & Girls Athletic Championships, was pleased to be specially invited to be part of Jamaican sports' big night out.
"For them to invite me here it was more than an honour, because considering all the great athletes here and to be recognised from another country on your accolades and accomplishments, it's always a great feeling," he said.