Lausanne - Gatlin, Isinbayeva, Wariner and Williams-Darling - QUOTES

Lausanne - Gatlin, Isinbayeva, Wariner and Williams-Darling - QUOTES

Tuesday 5 July 2005

Lausanne, Switzerland – Yesterday, on the eve of the Athletissima IAAF Super Grand Prix meeting in Lausanne four Olympic champions - Justin Gatlin (100m), Yelena Isinbayeva (women’s PV), Jeremy Wariner (400m) and Tonique Williams-Darling (women’s 400m) were pleased to present themselves to journalists gathered for the pre-meeting press conference.

Justin Gatlin

“This is the first time I will run in Lausanne. It is a beautiful country, probably the best place in Europe I have ever seen. I heard that the track is very fast. I come off great races at the US Trials in Carson. My body is tired because I ran many races in Carson but I am ok. I will face a great field in Lausanne and I think it will be a great race tomorrow. My training partner Dwight Thomas, Asafa’s training mate Michael Frater, Francis Obikwelu, my friend Shawn Crawford and the french guy Ronald Pognon are very strong competitors ”, said Gatlin, IAAF World Ranked number 4.

The sprinter coached by Trevor Graham explained that this year he focused more on technique and on starting from the blocks. “I have been training since the end of the US Nationals to improve the second part of the race especially after the 60 metres to the finish-line. I also worked on my start. If you watch the Olympic final in Athens, I had the slowest reaction time but I won the race in 9.85, a new Olympic record. I feel that I have to improve my start to be a better sprinter. Start is very important. I feel that with a good start I have more chances to win”.

Gatlin arrived to Europe after a very long and tiring journey.“This year I have learned a couple of tricks from Allen Johnson about how to manage the problem of jet lag, how to take rest to be ready to perform. Contrary to the United States most of European races are scheduled in the evening.”

Asked about the astonishing World record of 9.77 by Asafa Powell in the Athens Super Grand Prix, Gatlin said: “Asafa is a great competitor. If you look back in history every World record has been pushed by another strong competitor, for example Michael Johnson and Frank Fredericks. Asafa managed to run the world record without real opponents. “

“I will run only the 100 metres and not the 200 metres in Lausanne because I need to take rest to be in good shape for other races.”

Asked about the much-awaited clash against Asafa Powell in the Rome TDK Golden League meeting, Gatlin said: “I don’t think Lausanne is a warm-up for Rome. Every race I will run this year will be very tough. After Rome I will fly back to America. I will head to London on 22 July in my last race before Helsinki.”

After his Olympic triumph Gatlin feels that he managed to cope with the pressure of being 100 metres champion: “Since Athens my life has changed. I had ups and downs but what was done is done. Now I am working harder to become a greater athlete. I think that the world record is possible for me. This year I have to prove that I am a better athlete than last year.”

Lausanne will feature the clash between training partners Shawn Crawford and Justin Gatlin. “We are the opposite. He is an unpredictable man but we are very good friends and great training partners”, concluded Gatlin.

Yelena Isinbayeva

Russian Pole Vault star and crowd pleaser Yelena Isinbayeva will start her outdoor season in Lausanne after breaking four World Indoor records this winter and taking her first European indoor title in Madrid with 4.90. “After Lausanne I will compete again in Rethymno and then in Madrid, London, Stockolm before the World Championships,"said the IAAF World Ranked number 1.

“I feel great and I will try for a new World record. Last year I made my debut in Gateshead on 27 June and I broke the World record with 4.87. This year I decided to begin my outdoor season late because the winter season was very long and I needed time to rest. I prepared in my home town Volgograd where we have excellent training conditions and good coaches. This is why this place is so special for athletics. There I am very popular now. I spent the last weeks in Moscow.”

Yelena feels that this year it will be tougher. “I always focus on myself. It is a competition between me and the bar but I feel that I am not alone. There are other strong competitors this year, especially the Polish pole vaulter Ana Rogowska.”

The 2004 Female Athlete of the Year feels that her origin as gymnast has helped in her formation as a world class pole vaulter: “Gymnastics was the first step which helped to prepare my body for pole vault. Then my coach taught me the technique.”

In the Swiss meeting Isinbayeva will continue her centimetre by centimetre approach to the 5 metres barrier. “I want to break 36 World records and beat my predecessor Sergey Bubka. I think that now women’s Pole Vault is more popular than men’s Pole Vault because my World record chase cm by cm has made this sport more interesting. I think I am in the same situation as Bubka when he set World records cm by cm. I think that my limit is 5.15. One metre differential between men and women World records is a realistic target for the near future.”

“I have new poles which are stiffer but I prefer going on with older poles because I feel that I have chances to progress with the poles I am used with.”

Isinbayeva admits that her life has changed since her olympic gold in Athens. “I am very popular in Volgograd. I am recognized on the streets. Many journalists want me and I like it. But I don’t feel I am a superstar. I am just a small star”, said a modest Isinbayeva.

Support from the crowd is very important for her: “Spectators help me accumulate energy and find adrenaline to jump higher. A Pole Vault competition is very long because it starts before other competitions and finishes when other competions are ended.”

Jeremy Wariner

Jeremy Wariner will compete for the second time on the European circuit this summer after his 45.58 on the wet Ostrava track. Reigning 400 metres Olympic champion won the US Championships in Carson in a world seasonal best of 44.20.

Wariner feels that he has to improve his strength to run faster in the final part of the race. “This year I increased my training sessions with weights to be stronger in the final 200 metres. I ran a couple of 200 metres at the beginning of the season as I did during the high school. Now I am focusing on the 400 metres”, said Wariner, IAAF World Ranked number 3

“The competition is tremendously tough this summer with many 400 metres sprinters able to run low- 44 seconds, especially in the US. We are pushed to run faster. Lausanne is a very important race. I will face many rivals who will run in Helsinki. I arrived yesterday in time to recover from the US Trials.”

Jeremy Wariner shares the same coach as his illustrious predecessor Michael Johnson. His name is Clyde Hart. “My training plan is basically the same as Michael although we are different athletes.”

He trains with the 2005 NCAA champion Darold Williamson. “In every training sessions we help each other. We know our weaknesses. Our training sessions are like competions. We push each other to run faster. Darold is stronger in the first part of the race and I am stronger in the final 200 metres.”

Tonique Williams Darling

Olympic champion and TDK Golden League Jackpot winner Tonique Williams Darling will run her second European race of the summer in Lausanne after her winning debut in the opening leg of the TDK Golden League season in Paris St.Denis in 49.69.

“I had great expectations coming to Paris. Last year I won in 49.15. It is a fast track and it is a great meeting. Running 49.69 on Friday is good considering that it was just my third race of the year," said Williams-Darling, the IAAF World Ranked number 1.

The Bahamian star is not shocked by the recent results of the US Championships in Carson where three women broke the 50 seconds barrier. “The level is very high. Sanya Richards is very strong. And so many young girls are running 49 seconds but it is not a surprise for me. The US girls who made the team for Helsinki were in the Olympic final last year.”

“I continue to focus on myself and building my strength.”

Williams Darling feels that the long-standing World record of 47.60 set by Marita Koch (47.60) is out of reach. “It is not an achievable goal. Breaking the World record is not my motivator. Last year my goal was the Olympic gold and the Golden League Jackpot. This year I am training to win the World title.”

Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF

And i was believing that OR was 9.84 by Donovan Bailey :frowning: