Friday, 16 May 2014
Blake, Rutherford, Kilty and Porter quotes - pre-event interviews, Manchester
QUOTES COMPILED ON BEHALF OF BRITISH ATHLETICS
Ahead of tomorrow's BT Great City Games Manchester, four of the world's greatest athletes spoke in pre-event interviews. Here is what Yohan Blake, Gre Rutherford, Richard Kilty and Tiffany Porter had to say:
Yohan Blake (JAM) – World 100m champion and Olympic 100m and 200m silver medallist -
This is your first return to the UK since London 2012 - what shape do you feel you’re in and what are your hopes in terms of times for the upcoming Diamond League season?
“I’ve wanted run here (in Manchester) since high school, seeing Usain (Bolt) and Tyson (Gay) running here before.
“I can’t wait to get on to the track in this street race – I love over-distance and I want to just go out there and have some fun.
“I feel good, anything is possible and if the weather’s good anything can happen.
“We do a lot of 150m’s in training – it will be interesting running it in a straight. It’s only an extra 50m so it will be good.”
“For the Diamond League season, I just want to run fast and win.”
There are some British sprinters coming through the ranks such as Gemili, Kilty and Dasaolu, what do you make of the talent coming through in this country?
“I like the way British sprinting is developing – (Adam) Gemili and (James) Dasaolu ran well last year and it’s taking off again with (Richard) Kilty – I can’t relax against them anymore.
“When Delano (Williams) came to the Racers Track Club, I took him under my wing and this summer, I think he will surprise the British people.
“We’re training really well, according to plan.”
Tell us about your hopes for the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas next weekend?
“I’ve ran some pretty good legs for Jamaica and the 4x200m will be really interesting and we’re ready. We haven’t done any training – we just use our natural talent.”
You are set to compete in London for the Anniversary Games in July – are you looking forward to returning to London to compete?
“I love running in London, it’s really nice and the support is amazing.
“Last year, I was dying to come back to run in London at the Anniversary Games so I’m excited to finally come back and give the fans what they want by running fast.”
Explain your love of cricket and whether you are still able to play the game around your training?
“I’m serious about cricket, it’s my first love over athletics. I was in a tough situation – my mom was poor when I was growing up and so I used my talent to make a career and to provide for my family.
“I play every Sunday but I have to stop now for the serious part of the track season.”
Greg Rutherford (GBR) – Olympic long jump champion
You had your injury problems last year, so to bounce back and jump so well this year, how much confidence has that given you?
“You never know when you’re going to get injured next and it’s part and parcel of being an athlete – I just always hope they don’t pop up at the worst time like they did last year.
“I’m feeling good within my body and in the training I’m doing – I spent most of last year travelling the world, trying to find that perfect combination and then rediscovered what I had in London (2012 Olympics) with my fantastic, young coach Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo that’s excited by the sport and is learning with me – that’s what I need at this stage of my career, it’s a great partnership and hopefully, I’ll have a great year and steer clear of injury.
“I took for granted just being able to go home – I travel for hour to get to training and live in such a beautiful setting to help me completely switch off with my dogs, which helps me to just be me. Joining Jonas almost seemed too easy, going back to my old training ground but it really works.
“I’ve always said I could jump far as I’ve had the fundamentals since day one.
“I never set a distance on my ability and I hope to become regular around the 8.40m’s and 8,50m’s – your body comes to remember how jumping those distances feels.
“It didn’t feel particularly nice, I was in quite a lot of pain afterwards from pushing my body to somewhere it’s never been before but I hope to feel like that again many more times.
“I certainly hope to upgrade my Commonwealth silver to gold and to win again at the European’s two weeks later.
“Lynn Davies was the first to hold the Olympic, Commonwealth and European titles and I hope to achieve that as well this summer.”
How do you feel you have developed since joining Jonas’ training group?
“He was my old coach, Dan Pfaff’s assistant and has a good understanding of jumping, we’re surrounded by lots of kids who are incredibly fast and who are aiming to become top British sprinters so I have to work hard to keep up with them. Dan still has an involvement in my life, which is great as well.”
You’ve also announced that you are expecting a baby - how do you feel knowing you’re going to be a dad and how do you envisage that changing your training competition dynamics?
“It’s pure excitement – I can’t wait for the baby to be here in October, everything that comes with you just get on with and it hasn’t changed my focus – it focuses me more as ultimately, I’ll need to provide for another mouth in a couple of months’ time, I’ll need to make sure I’m jumping well.
“I’ll stay training at home in Milton Keynes from when the baby’s born until Christmas so I’ll be around for them for a good ten weeks or so.
“I’ve tried not to go too crazy but have bought loads of baby bibs and grows etc. We might do something fun with baby grows on the Gravity range.”
“For the Gravity company, the annex on my house has been turned into a glorified garage, filled with Gravity stuff and obviously I don’t want to stress about it all too much with my training so I’ve got a couple of guys, Suzi – my girlfriend being one of them helping out.
“I have to test the market and the waters – I couldn’t invest everything I have in something that could fail but it’s turning into a good start-up business and hopefully, it will continue to be popular. I like the idea of having other avenues to put my energy into.”
“With so much going on in my life right now, it’s good that I can switch off from competing. A lot has happened – it’s all been really exciting and has been things that I’ve wanted to happen in my life and fills me with confidence and joy.”
Richard Kilty (GBR) – World indoor 60m champion
You’re going to face Adam Gemili, Kim Collins and Yohan Blake in Glasgow in the Diamond League in July. After your heroics in Poland, are winning races like these in your sights?
“Glasgow will be a great opportunity to race the likes of Yohan again, and Adam and Kim – it’s going to be great.
“Those meetings will never be an easy race so hopefully they’ll drag me to a fast time to become one of the best sprinters in the world.
“I love competing in the City Games races, especially the one in Gateshead at the end of the season but my coach and I have proven that we work at peaking at the major championships and the Commonwealth’s and European’s are the big picture.
“People are putting pressure on me to break ten seconds so hopefully I can do that at the big meetings.”
How much has life changed for you, if at all since winning the World Indoor Championships?
“This time last year, I wasn’t sponsored, had to buy my own kit and pay my own way to get to competitions.
“Now all the Diamond Leagues want me and I’m pretty high demand at the moment, so it’s a dream come true – it’s all I ever wanted since I was a kid and now it’s a reality, it’s a bit of a culture shock but I’m accepting it.
“It’s been pretty difficult – my mind’s been all over the place with being worried of the pressure people are putting on me – before the was no expectation and I had the hunger to succeed behind me.
“Mentally it’s been tough but I’ve accepted it and I thrive on it.
“Hopefully I can feed off the energy and live up to the mantle of being a world champion by continuing forward this season.”
British sprinting is fast becoming one of the major forces on the international stage, how does it feel to be a part of that progression?
“The fact that we’ve got James (Dasaolu), Adam (Gemili), James (Ellington), Harry (Aikines-Aryeetey) and Dwain (Chambers), the talent is absolutely unbelievable so to even make a team is a challenge.
“We’ve got seven or eight athletes who would be regularly on the British team but since 2013, British sprinting’s exploded. You always have to be on top of your game and the British championships will be very tough.
“I’ve always studied the sport and researched what could go wrong at championships like with Asafa Powell, for some reason it comes naturally to me to perform when it matters.”
Tell us how your winter training went and how your spring training has been?
“The winter didn’t go as well as I’d planned – rather than hard training, it was about improving my technique and my mentality, not actually training as hard as in the past.
“I only started training in December and hooked up with my new coach in January – I had a month out in South Africa and I learned and improved so much in the two months before the indoor season.
“I’ve just spent seven weeks out in America, which was great – I’ve missed a bit of training due to the long indoor season but things are going very well.”
Explain what your training group is like in Loughborough under Rana Reider?
“We’ve got a great group with Tiffany (Porter), Christian (Taylor), Shara (Proctor) – some great athletes and we all learn and rub off on each other.
“I wasn’t professional in the past but they all train good, live good, eat good – being surrounded by those guys is positive and makes me a better athlete.”
What are your aims for tomorrow’s race in Manchester?
“Tomorrow – rather than saying I’m going to run a massive PB and run away from the field – is about showing the crowd what we’ve about, having an enthusiastic race.
“It’s only my second race of the season – I’d love to win but it’s more about enjoying myself and seeing what shape I’m in – it’s like a homecoming for me after Sopot.”
Tell us about your relay training with the British team and your hopes for the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas next weekend?
“We’ve been working on the relay but haven’t had the best of luck getting into competitions and had a makeshift team out in the US, but we’ll bring Dwain in for the IAAF World Relays and we’re aiming for nothing less than the bronze.
“We can’t have any more failures after Moscow, we just need to get the baton round.
“Myself, Danny (Talbot), Harry (Aikines-Areeytee) and James Ellington were out in Dayton, Florida –we’re all committed to the relay programme and train for it twice a week – we have confidence and should be safe – we’ll come together to deliver and qualify for the (2015 Beijing) World Championships.
“We the flat speed we all have, no other teams apart from Jamaica should get close to us.”
Will you be focusing on the 100m this season?
“All the Diamond Leagues want me in the 100m so I’ll focus on that distance for the major champs this summer. I missed a lot of speed endurance recently but my coach and I know it will come.
“I’d love to run fast in the 200m this year. I’m still learning the 100m but naturally, I’ll be better over the shorter sprint.”
Tiffany Porter (GBR) – World indoor and outdoor 100m hurdles bronze medallist
There are interesting battles in the hurdles developing with the likes of yourself, Brianna Rollins, Sally Pearson to name a few - what do you feel you need to ensure that you finish top of the pile at major championships?
“It’s just a matter of continuing to develop as an athlete and trusting in my training and abilities.
“I’m very confident that the day (of beating them) will come if I juts hone my technique and stay in my lane. There’s so many different things hurdles can perfect all of the time.
You’re a part of a large group mentored by Rana Reider - what impact do you feel he has had on British sprinting since coming into the role?
“Rana’s a really good coach and is world-renowned. I made the decision to join his coach in 2013 and have won two world bronze medals so it’s working well and I’m really excited to see what the future holds for us working together.
“We all get on really well and spur each other on. We’re all in different disciplines but come together in one common goal, I really like training with my training partners.
Tell us what your aspirations for the summer are?
“I go into every competition looking to win so that won’t be any different tomorrow. There’s a couple of technical changes we’ve been working on and I want to win both the Commonwealth’s and European’s, and I definitely want a PB this year.”
Will you spend much of the summer back home in the USA, and explain what it’s like to be married to a fellow world-class athlete?
“I’ll be based in Loughborough from the trials (in Birmingham in late June) until September but until then, I’ll be going back and forth.”
“Since we (with husband, Jeff Porter) both spend so much time in athletics, we try not to talk track at home. We definitely have a good partnership.”