Sotomayor: Robles fine for 110-meter hurdles

Aug. 11, 2008, 11:15 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) Retired high jump world champion Javier Sotomayor says fellow Cuban Dayron Robles has no reason to worry about his upcoming duel with China's Liu Xiang in the 110 meter hurdles race. Liu is the one who should worry.

"The shape Dayron is in this year, he really has no reason to worry," Sotomayor told The Associated Press on Monday during a visit to the boxing venue. "He just has to concentrate and continue to race the way he's been doing since the current season started and everything will be fine."

Liu's the one who should be fretting he said.

"Everybody is asking whether Dayron will resist the pressure when he comes into the stadium with thousands supporting Liu" on Aug. 18, Sotomayor said. "But I ask, will Liu resist? It won't be easy for him. The entire Chinese people are expecting him to win gold."

Sotomayor said Robles has overcome his failure in the world championships, when he failed to win a medal.

"He has forgotten that. These games are a fresh new start for him," he said.

Robles set a world record this year with 12.87 seconds, breaking the one Liu had held since 2006.

Sotomayor, 40, is now manager of the Cuban track and field team. He has held the high jump world record with 2.45 meters since 1992.