28 August, 2019

Media conference quotes

At today's media conference, the world's best athletes answered the questions of former world record holder and presenter Colin Jackson. What do they expect from themselves, their competitors and the athletics spectacle in the Letzigrund stadium? You will find the answers in the following summary.

Andreas Hediger (co-director of Weltklasse Zürich)

“It makes us proud to have the best athletes in the world in Zurich.”
“I personally am looking forward to big duels. For example Karsten Warholm meeting Rai Benjamin fort he first time in a competition. Or the women’s 1500m, which stages two world record holders, Sifan Hassan (mile) and Genzebe Dibaba (1500m). The women’s 200m is stacked with an Olympic champion, a world champion, a European champion and a Swiss champion. Or in the pole vault Renaud Lavillenie will face three 6m jumpers.”
“And we are proud to have some Swiss athletes that not only have wild cards, but can compete for the win. Also, there will be many U20 and U23 Swiss European champions competing tomorrow.”

Christoph Joho (co-director of Weltklasse Zürich)

"Our goal is to inspire and connect all year round."
"We keep 10 to 15 athletes that compete in Zurich for Saturdays UBS Kids Cup Final. Then the kids are the stars and the stars help the kids at the UBS Kids Cup Final."

Sydney McLaughlin (USA)

“It’s been a good experience to be on the circuit and to see new places. It’s my first time in Switzerland and I’m here to learn a lot.”
“The biggest thing for me this year was to see how everything works on the international circuit. That’s the beauty of a first year as a professional.”
“So far, my favourite moment in the IAAF Diamond League was in Monaco, where I managed to drop to a low 53-second time.”
“Witnessing a world record – I was shocked when I crossed the finish line and saw her time [Dalilah Muhammad’s world record of 52.20] – made me think that I want to get there, too. “

Dalilah Muhammad (USA)

“[Talking about the world record] It’s been something I've been working towards. It was somehow unexpected at that time, months away from worlds so I had to refocus for all the upcoming races."
"My best IAAF Diamond League experience was here in Zurich last year. To come home with a win was a great thing, especially since the season didn't go as well as planned."
"After breaking the world record I got one week off training. I definitely needed it, from a mental perspective, just get some space."

Lea Sprunger (SUI)

“I’m really lucky that we have such a good meet in my home country. The best athletes are coming to Zurich. I hope they enjoy the atmosphere and the stadium and perform well.”
“I hope to have a nice feeling and do my best.”
“I prepared well but at the beginning of the outdoor season I struggled with some injuries, which was a new experience for me. I had to learn how to deal with it.”
“I hope I can use tomorrow’s fast race to run a season best. In Doha I want to reach the final. I’ll do everything to be there and fight for it.”

Noah Lyles (USA)

"I'm very excited to see where the 100m will take me. Early on in my career I focused on what I was good at but for this year I've been focusing on the 100m and especially the start. We worked a lot on my start and it’s starting to pay off."
"I feel confident, a lot of the practices were really good. [The IAAF Diamond League in] Paris was a bit of a test. We had done a lot of hard workouts and everyone was shocked about the time but I'm excited."
"I'm just here to run, not to take people's individuals records, it's not how I think."
"My best experience was definitely the 200m at Prefontaine Classic last year in front of the US crowd. I wanted to do something spectacular and it happened."

Alex Wilson (SUI)

“Running 19.98 for the 200m cost me 6 wix weeks of running. May ribs hurt after that. I came back at nationals championships last week. The speed is back und I’m happy to compete again. My coach was happy to see me run 20.4 jogging.
“I don’t know what people can expect from me tomorrow. I only started running again last week. But you never know what happens in Zurich with this audience. It can go very fast or very bad. I’m positive to be back on the good side and I’m ready to run. Also, I’m happy that world championships are late because I picked up the injury in June.”
“It’s crazy! Before I changed coach a few years ago, I was about number 200 in the world. Now, I’m number 8, which makes me feel like “wow”. It’s tough to train hard every day in London, you know, with the bad weather. But I’m happy to be in the place I am now.”

Emma Coburn (USA)

“After my second fastest performance at Prefontaine Classic, I’m ready to have another good race.”
“I’ve been training even better this year than the previous years.”
“To break 9 minutes is the ultimate goal.”
“I didn’t run a good IAAF Diamond League Final up to now, because I was always tired after the big championship races. So I’m excited to have the opportunity to race a Diamond League Final before worlds.”
Beatrice Chepkoech:
"Prefontaine Classic was such a fast race, I decided to go fast as I've always been a front runner."
"I will try my best tomorrow to get close to the 8:44-minute mark. To me, it feels the same, even if World Championships are late."

Sifan Hassan (NED)

“Actually, the start of my training for this year was not good. And now it just turned out to be an amazing year for me.”
“Early in the season I had Ramadan. Training was tough but it makes you stronger mentally. My world record in the mile was already some time after Ramadan and I started to feel better. In that [world record] race, when the pace was slow, I didn’t believe I could break the record. But I was really happy it still turned out fast.”
 “I‘ve never had a good IAAF Diamond League final. I was always tired from major championships. This time it will be different. Now I feel ready to go.

Genzebe Dibaba

"The last season wasn’t good, it was getting difficult towards the end of the season. We did some changes for this season. Now I trained very well and I feel good. Tomorrow I'll try my best."

Mondo Duplantis (SWE)

“I don’t think about the order I jump as much as Sam [Kendricks] does. I know I will need to jump very high anyway to win here.”
“You should always focus on yourself. I try to jump the highest I can every day. I know it’s cliché but it’s true because you never know what the others are doing.”
“I jumped 6m early in the year, then jumped a little less high. It’s great to be back over 6m at the right time of the year. I’m happy to be in the lottery of the hat with all the possible winners of a meet like tomorrow.”
“It was my second time training with Renaud [Lavillenie] at his house this summer. It was an honour to get his invitation and I had a great time there training and hanging out in his town. It’s difficult to say which pole vault facility is better, mine or his. But so far I have definitely jumped higher in Renauds garden.”
“The public doesn’t believe me my glasses are real. But my sight is really bad. My brother and I got into the Beatles lately and I get some inspiration from John Lennon.”

Sam Kendricks (USA)

"The season started well with the indoor season in Europe. On the other side of the ocean, Mondo always put on another centimetre on the world lead. The was the story of indoor season."
“There is youth, experience, and everything in between. We try to stay relevant and succeed inside the ranks. It always depends on who is the best on the day. Who can focus on that specific day. The weather conditions only wouldn’t change anything for any of us."
"Our event is special, it's me versus the bar, and him versus the bar. It's not that I want him to not succeed, but I want myself to succeed more."
"Every era needs its own champions. The guys I watched were Björn Otto, Jeff Hartwig and of course Renaud Lavillenie.”

Renaud Lavillenie (FRA)

“First we have to stay focused on our job and then we take bar after bar.”
“During the past years, the relationship between us vaulters hasn’t always been as strong and good as now, you can’t be friends with everyone. On track everybody is here for the win, but we have to enjoy it and it’s pretty cool at the moment.”

Dina Asher-Smith (GBR)

"I always want to perform well in front of my home crowd. The wind was a bit annoying and changed a lot. So I wasn’t happy with my performance in Birmingham and at national championships."
"I remember when someone from CBS referred to this us as the golden era of women’s sprinting. Of course I agree with this. So I can feel people and the media seeing us as stars, too, not just the guys."

Mujinga Kambundji (SUI)

“It was an amazing 200m for me [at national championships]. Actually, my first really good one. I did a national record. I hope I have a little bit of an advantage running in my home country tomorrow. With my home crowd, it’s always special. And it’s before world championship, too. So I am fitter than for other editions. I’m really excited to see how I can do.”
Shaunae Miller-Uibo:
"It was a great race, to compete against all of the girls in Birmingham."
"I'm really excited about tomorrow as it is my last 200m of the season. After that it’s all about the 400m."
"It's a bit of a motivation, seeing your teammates doing well, it gives you the extra push."

Dafne Schippers (NED)

“I think it’s good to race with these girls, I’m excited and I like trying to be the best I can.”
“It’s good to have a competition before worlds. Everybody is in a different build up and shape. I like it.”

Elaine Thompson (JAM)

“I’ll run the 100 and 200m at the World championships in Doha.”
“Tomorrow I’ll just try to have fun as it’s my last race before Doha.”
“It’s gonna be my first IAAF Diamond League Final before a major championship event and I will be really happy that the season will be finished afterwards.”

Karsten Warholm (NOR)

“Everything comes with pressure. Especially when you have guys like these against you. It’s pressure but at the same time we’re pushing each other. I’m not afraid of losing, but I’m afraid of not improving and not becoming a better version of myself.”
“For me it’s always about just running my race. But when you see how Rai [Benjamin] races: he finishes much harder. So I will just wait for him to pass me.”
“Last year I got a lot of beating, by [Abderrahmane] Samba for example. And I got a lot of motivation from that. I used to run 8 hurdles well and then somehow finished the races. Now I think I can run 10 hurdles quite well. The consistent work makes me better.”

Rai Benjamin

"I feel really good. I'm confident and healthy, I've been excited about the IAAF Diamond League Final for a while and ready to run fast tomorrow!"
"I will run my own race, I tried different patterns of tactics in Rome and throughout the season and now I want to find my own pace and try a new pattern tomorrow."
"I spoke to Kevin Young yesterday. I never had a conversation with him before. Hearing his words of wisdom is really cool, him being the world record holder.”
"In the NCAA we had meets week in, week out. So the focus this season as a professional was more on the training. It's strange having a race and then taking a break for a month."

Kariem Hussein (SUI)

“I feel great about being back on track with such fast guys, that’s a big motivation.”
“It will be a crazy fast race tomorrow.”
“It’s the best to run in front of your home crowd. Once Felix Sanchez came up to me and thanked me for being in the race because my home crowd made so much noise for all of us since I was in the race.”