BEIJING (CIOC) – The sun was beating down on the track at the Bird’s Nest stadium in the first round of the Men’s 110 metre hurdles Monday.
And the pressure was on Ronald Forbes who has been fighting to come back from an injury.
With a stadium packed with Chinese fans, the starting gun popped and Forbes was out of the blocks like a bullet train. His naturally calm face was contorted in aggression and braids swinging as he launched himself over hurtle after hurtle and pushed himself through to the finish line.
With a time of 13.59 seconds, Forbes ranked fifth in his heat. And with an overall ranking of 19 out of 43 hurdlers, Forbes made the critical top 32 spots to advance to the next round. He also set a new national record that he made at the NCAA nationals in Iowa in June.
For the last month, Forbes has been out of competition as he struggled with an injury that was not fully healed when he started his heat at the Games today. Nevertheless he was happy with his performance.
“Normally I am the last one out of the blocks and it is evident most of the time,” says Forbes. “This time I wasn’t the first one out, but I wasn’t the last one out either. So I am pretty pleased how I executed the race.
“The time speaks for itself. It is a new personal record and a new national record. It is my best effort and the time proved it.’
“I think he did extremely well,” says Coach Kenrick Williams. “That is tremendous work and tremendous ability and he has set a personal record at his first Olympics. The sky is the limit for him now.”
Just minutes after the race and before all six heats were finished, Forbes talked about what it was like to compete in the same event as Chinese superstar Liu Xiang, who would aggravate an existing injury and not complete his individual heat.
“Liu Xiang is next to the Buddha around here,” said Forbes. “He is carrying China on his back. Tthat is tremendous pressure. And to compete in the same event with him is a tremendous honour,” adding that he is not intimidated by Xiang.
“We are all fierce competitors out here,” says Forbes. “Whoever gives the best effort walks away with it. So I wish him all the best and I know I will try my best.”
Editor’s note: The interview with Forbes was conducted before Liu Xiang pulled out of the Olympics before clearing his first hurdle Monday