LONDON, England (AP) — Dayron Robles says he's still the man to beat in the 110-metre hurdles despite a string of injuries that has plagued his season.
The Cuban defending Olympic champion feels he has returned
to a good level in time for the
But he's not overconfident
ahead of Tuesday's heats, acknowledging there is a strong field at the London Games.
"I'm the favourite, but I have to recognise that this has been a tremendous year for the 110-metre hurdles because there has been a high level," he said yesterday.
He pointed to Aries Merritt, Jason Richardson, Liu Xiang and fellow Cuban Orlando Ortega as contenders.
Robles, who is the world record-holder, was cautious as about whether he could repeat the gold he won at the 2008 Beijing Games. He hasn't been able to train as much as he would have liked, pulling out of races in New York and Oregon.
But Robles thinks he's ready.
"I feel very well. I have improved a lot," he said. "I've been away from the track because of injury problems ... that have prevented me from being in peak form this season. We hope that all will turn out well on the track."
Four years after winning gold, things are different for Robles.
"In Beijing, I was 21, it was my rival who was the man to beat, I had just come off 10 or 11 races without losing any, I was in good shape that year and I had competed not so long before," he said. "This year, I haven't competed, I haven't had many chances to see myself in action."
One thing going for Robles is that he's not feeling so much pressure this time, now that he already has a gold medal.
"I know my responsibility, I know that if I win at the Games, it's history, but in any case, history has already been made (for me)," he said. "You have to have fun, even if you don't come away with anything. Let's see who will win ... Only the track knows."