Sanya Richards-Ross ahead of the 2014 Diamond League meeting in Paris (© Jiro Mochizuki)
As has become usual on the day before an IAAF Diamond League meeting, many of the top athletes in action at the Meeting Areva in Paris faced the world’s media on Friday (4).
Below are a selection of the best quotes from the day-long session with the athletes.
“If these girls have a good day and I have a bad day, they can beat me," said Sandra Perkovic. "I thrive on competition and I like other girls to throw far. My best result was in Shanghai because I was pushed. My goal this season is to win the European Championships, I have a fondness for this event as I want to win for the third time. I won in Barcelona, and then in Helsinki so winning in Zurich is my big goal. I’ll try to get closer to 72 metres as well."
“I’ve never been injured this long before. I’ve never been in this kind of situation, so I don’t know if my results are normal or not," said Blanka Vlasic. "The good news is that I’m healthy now, and better things lie ahead. It’s not so easy, but 1.98 (in Oslo) was not so bad for my first competition of the year. Right now, I need to be patient and to take one competition at a time. I feel great physically, but not everything is coming together with my technique. I need to go through the season now, even if I’m not jumping 2.05 or not attempting world records because I need to get back to where I was."
“This is my first season with my new trainer (Loren Seagrave) so I need time to adjust to my new training methods," said Darya Klishina. "I moved to the USA for various reasons, I needed a change of environment. It’s very different from Russia as I’m doing new exercises. I’m working a lot on my speed and I think I’m faster now. I want to jump around seven metres this season, and why not try to beat my personal best (7.05m), but the main goal for this season is to win the European gold medal in Zurich."
“I’m 100 per cent healthy and 80 per cent in shape for the decathlon and I’ve found that is always better than being 100 per cent in shape and 80 per cent healthy," said Ashton Eaton. "It will not be possible to double with the decathlon and 400m hurdles at the World Championships, but we are playing with the idea of trying to do the long jump and the decathlon at the World Championships."
“I was successful at the (US) nationals in Sacramento (which she won with 6.92m), but I had no rhythm," said Brittney Reese. "It’s quite normal at this stage, but I’m gonna be better and better in my running, with more rhythm and speed, maybe as soon as tomorrow in the Stade de France. What would be a good result for me here? Well, I’m hoping for a seven-metre jump sometime soon but I will take 6.90s all day."
“In Paris, I don’t have the right to be afraid," said Pierre-Ambroise Bosse. "I am expecting to win and my target is 1:43 or maybe less. I’m ready to run fast, I feel like I can win this race. I’m expecting a lot from the pacemaker. I’ll be looking to run the first lap in 50.5."
“The best hurdlers in the world will be running tomorrow," said Cindy Billaud. "I don’t think that this race will define the rest of my season but my goal will be to be in the fight until the finish line and to aim for the win. I think that I’m part of the best hurdlers in the world now. I believe that I can run faster than the French national record (12.56 by Monique Ewanje-Epee in 1990), but I’m not focused on this right now. I always run to win and I look at the time afterwards."
”I’m coming back from a small injury that I got in Rome," said Sally Pearson. "I feel good now. It’s just about getting my rhythm and my speed back. I’ll be looking to run faster tomorrow night. I raced here in Paris two years ago. I won and I beat the Diamond League record, so I’m very happy to be back. Hopefully I’ll run a good time and I’ll show the crowd something special."
“My coach and I thought I would get into the 49s by the end of the season but to do it at the nationals, it was a surprise but not a shock," said Sanya Richards-Ross. "Last year was a little bit stressful to start with but ultimately it was good to freshen up my mind and get my body restored; however it was frustrating watching from the side lines.
“I’ve really enjoyed watching the (football) World Cup, the US team made us so proud," added Richards-Ross. "I can’t wait to see Messi in action again, my physio is a big Arjen Robben fan so I’m waiting for the Dutch as well; and we’ve got the match tonight (France v Germany) Go France!”
It should be noted that Richards-Ross was a big hit with the local media after starting her press point speaking in French.
“I wouldn’t say that I’m at 100 per cent right now, but all athletes have problems and injuries," said Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. "It’s been two pretty rough months, which is a bit unusual for me, so I’m just looking to see what happens tomorrow, as it will be my first race since Rome. I need a strong competition to see where I am. I will compete at the Commonwealth Games, but I’m not 100 per cent sure of what races I’ll be competing in."
“I didn’t have a problem in Sacramento (at the US Championships last week)," said Allyson Felix. "My coach had planned for me to run just one round. I need to continue progressing and training. I need to be patient this year. I’m hoping to have a good technical race tomorrow. Hopefully my time will continue to drop. My focus for this season is just to get back healthy and 100 per cent. It’s been a rocky road. It’s difficult to be patient. My coach doesn’t want me to push too much this season, as this is kind of an off year. The next three years will be very intense."
"I don’t think that I ran my best race last night in Lausanne despite beating my personal best (of 13.06)," said Pascal Martinot-Lagarde. "I thought that my race in Oslo, where I finished in 13.12 with a negative wind, was better, so I believe that I still have a pretty big margin to improve."
Phil Minshull for the IAAF