HAVANA - Cuban hurdler runner Dayron Robles, the holder of the 110 meters world record, on Wednesday said his top rival Liu Xiang of China is "a good warrior" who will give him tough competition in the World Cup later this year.
"The Chinese, Liu, is an exceptional athlete. He is very devoted to his work and a very warrior athlete, he has done a good recovery and is well on his way to the World Cup," Robles said.
He said that Liu, an Olympic champion in Athens 2004, is among the favourites to win the gold during the next athletics World Cup 2011 which will be held in the South Korean city of Daegu in August.
Robles, along with Liu and the US hurdler David Oliver, are seen as the three main candidates for taking the gold in the 2011 World Cup.
Liu, who after the 2008 Beijing Olympics had to undergo surgery in the United States, returned to the track last year and managed to score a 13.09 seconds time in the Asian Athletics Championship.
For his own part, Robles returned to the field this month in the Caribbean island of Guadalupe with a best time of 13.55 seconds, marking his first serious return to the sport after a 3-month-recovery period from injuries.
He said he will participate in training competitions in a variety of European cities in the next few months, including events in Hengelo, Holland on May 29, in Ostrava in the Czech Republic on May 31, and on June 30 in the Swiss city of Lausanne.
"I ask God and all the world to give me the health to do what I like," he said, referring to the variety of injuries he has suffered during the last three years.
Robles also won the 60-meter hurdles contest in March 2010 in the indoor World Cup in Doha, but after winning in Beijing 2008 he suffered a disappointment in the 2009 World Cup in Berlin and was forced to interrupt his European preparation tour last year due to leg injuries.