April 19 2014 Latest news:
Sunday, July 22, 2012
World number one 400m hurdler Javier Culson gunning for Gold
Never has there been such expectation on one man from a nation, but speaking to humble Olympic hopeful Javier Culson you wouldn’t know it.
The 27-year-old is currently the world’s fastest 400m hurdler, and overwhelming favourite for gold at this summer’s Games.
He is a superstar back home in Puerto Rico and has been in untouchable form this season, regularly leaving Team GB captain Dai Greene and Maidstone-born Jack Green in his wake.
The small Caribbean island has only ever won medals in boxing; five bronze and one silver – the last being in Atlanta in 1996, so the expectation on Culson is enormous.
He and the rest of his team mates have settled in well at their Canterbury Christ Church University training base, visiting London, Paris, and Whitstable in their down time.
But he is completely focused on delivering gold when he takes to the track in two weeks time, and he praised his surroundings at the university as the perfect place to prepare.
“I feel good, I feel very good,” he said. “The facilities are extraordinary, the track and the gym is really good.
“I have been training in the morning and in the afternoon. I am very concentrated on my work - I’m going to win the gold.”
The two time World Championship silver medallist went head-to-head with Green in the final of their event at the Crystal Palace Diamond League meeting last week. It was a milestone race for Green as he finished fourth and set a new personal best of 48.60s. It remains to be seen whether the 20-year-old can catch Culson who in that race equalled his world leading time of 47.78s to finish first, with Welshman Greene second in 48.10s.
“Every athlete has the opportunity to win a medal,” said Culson. “It’s going to be a very close race.”
Manager for the track and field athletes, Luis Diebbad, is happy that his man can deal with the pressure upon him.
“Javier is a very humble person and he is very focused,” he said. “Our whole country has expectations with him, it is the first time we are so close to getting the gold medal.
“The environment over here is so nice to train in. They are training well and feeling comfortable.”