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.