We caught up with soon to be Olympian and World Junior athlete Steven Solomon for a quick chat.
What are your training and racing plans from now until the start of the World Juniors?
Now that I have arrived in Europe, my training load is beginning to lighten as I approach my taper for World Juniors. I raced last weekend at the Mannheim Junioren-Gala; where I placed first in a meet record 45.71. This meet is a fairly prestigious junior meet, so to run the meet record made the race more pleasing. I would have loved to have gone faster, but the tight bends and jet lag did not quite allow me to do so. I was however happy with the run. It has given me a great amount of confidence and motivation for my next competition this weekend (again in Germany).
Who will your main competitors be in Barcelona?
Barcelona will see some very strong opposition in many disciplines, especially the four-hundred meter event. Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic will be the main challenge- having run 44.45 this season. There are also two Americans who have run very fast already this year and I have no doubt that others will rise to the occasion and produce fantastic results in Barcelona.
Although I am conscience of these runners, they will not effect my preparations. It has become vivid to me that a lot of juniors have trouble reproducing consistent performances, so although many runners have the talent to do amazing things, the only times that matter are those done on the day. I am also very confident in my own ability, and believe that Fira (my coach) and I have a good approach that I am hopeful will pay dividends in Barcelona.
We understand that your coach, Fira Dvoskina, will be in Barcelona for your race. What impact will that have on your confidence and final preparations?
It is so warming to have Fira here in Barcelona with me. Fira has been coaching for over fifty-five years and has eyes like no other coach in the world. Having her pick up on minute technical details will give me an added edge, both physically and mentally. It is also great to have someone of her experience there to keep me relaxed and ready- Although I am nineteen and often thing I know everything there is to know, Fira is the real thinker in our relationship and her advice on how to run through the rounds will be invaluable when it comes to the big race. It also provides an added intrinsic motivation, as it will be one of the last major competitions we share together as coach and athlete for the next few years, as I start college at Stanford in September under Eldrick Floreal.
Is the Olympic A-standard something that you will be consciously chasing in the lead up to the world juniors, now that the qualifying deadline is 8 July?
The A standard is definitely a target that I am pushing towards leading into London. I cannot comprehend how valuable and special running the individual four-hundred meter event in London will be. I am confident in my program and lead up to London, and in saying that, I hope I can produce some fast times that will allow me an individual birth in London.
What are your movements after Barcelona and prior to the London Olympics?
After World Juniors, I will spend one or two days in Barcelona just to give my body and mind a break from what will have been an intense week of competition- with potentially five four-hundred meter races. From Barcelona, I will head straight into Australia's London base. I will stay and train here until we enter the village.
Follow Steve on Twitter @stevesolo10