Dayron Robles

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dayron Robles,

Cuba, Hurdles

Cubans can't contain their excitement about hurdler Dayron Robles. The 21-year-old from Guantanamera (prepare to hear the catchy song about his home town over and over) broke the 110-meter hurdles world record June 12 with a 12.87-second shocker at a meet in the Czech Republic.

The record was held by superstar hurdler Liu Xiang, considered one of China's best hopes for a gold medal in Beijing, and hurdles fans are already pumped about a Robles-Liu Olympic showdown.

Robles fever is noteworthy on an island that is usually more preoccupied with the fortunes of its formidable baseball team. But if the hurdler bests Liu, he'd better get ready for U.S. television interviews.

Robles, who runs wearing prescription glasses, says he's been practicing English with his girlfriend.

-- Manuel Roig-Franzia

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