Cuban star hurdler Robles to arrive in Beijing in a week

2008-07-29 11:33:48 GMT       2008-07-29 19:33:48 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

BEIJING, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Cuba's Dayron Robles, No. 1 threat to Chinese hero Liu Xiang in his defence of men's 110 meters hurdles Olympic champion, is said to arrive here in a week to make his Olympic debut.

Busy running for several Grand Prix meets in Europe, Robles, who just broke Liu's world record by 12.87 seconds, did not come with the first Cuban Olympians who flied to Beijing on Sunday.

A Cuban track and field coach said here Tuesday that the new favorite sprint hurdler will catch up with his teammates in a week, directly from Europe.

Claiming that the Beijing Olympics is his main goal this year, Robles would have enough time to adjust himself to the Beijing Standard Time, eight hours ahead of GMT, as well as the hot and humid weather, before the men's 110 meters hurdle heats scheduled on August 18.

Robles lately seemed more formidable to Liu, China's favorite hurdler whose world record of 12.88 seconds was stripped off by Robles in June by one hundredth second. The 21-year-old Cuban clocked 12.88 and 12.91 seconds in the past two weeks successively in Paris, France, and Stockholm, Sweden.

"I've never been to the Olympics, everything we do is focused on Beijing," Robles said after he broke Liu's record.

Although a new hero prided by Cubans, Robles was known to stay with the rest Cuban Olympians in the official athletes' residence compounds.

Members of the Cuban athletics squad, including a female hurdler, started their training on Tuesday in the Chaoyang Sports Center in east suburban Beijing.

More than 60 athletes from Cuba, Guam and Pueto Rico have used the track and field training facilities. Some particularly chose to train during night when most Olympic athletics finals are organized.

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