Photographers' Blog

The Cuban gazelle

By Desmond Boylan

A mixture of gazelle and human is the impression Dayron gave me when he took off from where I was standing on the training grounds and jumped the first hurdle. He became tiny in the lens very fast, and when he was running towards me there wasn’t much time to shoot until he filled the frame.

Dayron Robles is the main sporting figure of the moment in Cuba. In his specialty event of the men’s 110m hurdles, he won gold at the Beijing Olympics and is the current world record-holder.

You would not think this when you speak to him. He is humble, reserved, down-to-earth, gentle, agreeable and easygoing, but at the same time there is a distant look in his eyes.

On May 6, he spoke to a Reuters TV crew and clearly announced his plan to retire after the 2012 London Olympics.  His trainer Santiago Antunez also plans to retire. When asked why, he answered that there are a lot of factors involved, like injuries combined with disappointments over several issues. He doesn’t care if those issues are resolved anymore because he is definitely retiring. He did not want to go into specifics.

For a 25-year-old at the height of his career, all this sounds a bit strange.

Dayron said he will attempt to run the 110m hurdles in close to 13 seconds when he trains in Spain for his London build-up, and at his first athletics meetings in the United States in June. His standing world record is 12.87.

Dream of gold

By Swoan Parker

Gold in Haiti should no longer be just a dream. Even before prospective mining begins in the country’s northern hills, the realization of it all could be little more than one month away. Without investing millions and weighing only 52 kg (114 pounds), 21-year-old Linouse Desravines, the country’s only judoka to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics, is all it might take for Haiti to acquire gold.

Being a fan of the martial arts with secret fantasies of being a Ninja when I was a young child, I wanted to meet the country’s only athlete who is also female and would represent them in judo.  I made a few calls and was put in touch with coaches Ulrick Louis-Charles and Andres Ramos Franco, both former Olympians at the 1992 Barcelona Games. Louis-Charles returned to the Games more recently as coach in Beijing.

Linouse, who is ranked #28 in the world in her weight class, is from Haiti’s north coast where she lives and regularly trains. In preparation for the games, Linouse was scheduled to stay in the capital for a few days and train with the two coaches, before traveling to France to continue training for seven more weeks before arriving in London.

from Russell Boyce:

Asia – A Week in Pictures 31 July 2011

Ramadan started in Asia on Sunday and Indonesia-based photographer Ahmed Yusef produced this beautiful image to mark the start of the most important period in the Muslim calendar. The viewer focuses on the young woman's eyes as the red scarf draws you to her through a sea of swirling white created by a slow exposure. Also in Indonesia, Dwi Oblo's picture draws you into the picture through  light and smoke to evoke a real feeling of people humbling themselves as they pay respects to their dead relatives as they also prepare for Ramadan.

Muslim woman attend mass prayer session "Tarawih", which marks the beginning of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, at Al Markaz Al Islami mosque in Makassar, South Sulawesi July 31, 2011. Muslims around the world abstain from eating, drinking and conducting sexual relations from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. REUTERS/Ahmad Yusuf 

 Indonesian Muslims pray at the graves of their relatives in Bantul in central Java, July 25, 2011, ahead of Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Indonesian Muslims traditionally visit the graves of their loved ones before and towards the end of the holy month. REUTERS/Dwi Oblo

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