Robles turns back on Cuba

Dayron Robles turns his back on Cuba.
Dayron Robles turns his back on Cuba.

HAVANA – Former Olympic hurdles champion Dayron Robles has confirmed he no longer wants to compete for his native Cuba.

Robles said he was through running for Cuba but offered no other details in a brief telephone interview.

“Yes, it’s true, I asked to be removed,” Robles said, referring to the national team.Just over a week ago, Robles said he would sit out the 2013 season because he was upset about his treatment from Cuban officials, who he says have not taken care of him.

Robles won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but pulled up midway through the gold-medal race in London clutching his right hamstring. He held the world record of 12.87 seconds in the 110-metre hurdles before it was surpassed by American rival Aries Merritt in 12.80.

“The guy does not want to continue competing,” said Jorge Luis Sanchez, the head of the Cuban Commission for track and field, in an interview with the state-run newspaper Juventud Rebelde.

Robles’ withdrawal from the Cuban team was spelled out in an article in Juventud Rebelde titled: ‘The Way Without Robles.’ The article, which seemed to prepare the Cuban public for Robles’ departure, said that “Cuban sport suffered a painful loss of a true lord who for a long time, and forever, put the name of Cuba in gold letters. Nobody – not followers nor detractors – can forget this.”

Unexplained departure

Robles, 26, has not made it clear why he does not want to compete for Cuba, nor has he talked in public about his future.Just over a week ago his coach Santiago Antunez said that he had been unable to convince Robles to keep competing.

“Dayron is very upset,” Antunez said at the time in an interview. “He doesn’t feel like he’s being taken care of, and it’s not about money or things like that. Rather, it’s a human problem, a question of personal attention. Nobody speaks with him, nobody explains anything, nobody says anything. … He doesn’t want to go on.”

Antunez said Robles still had the ability to get better. But he acknowledged he had picked up lots of injuries since 2008.

“What Dayron has achieved so far, he had done overcoming many problems,” Antunez said. “He could never train all-out.” (AP)

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