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As a boy, Dayron Robles aspired to be a high jumper like his countryman and idol, Olympic gold medalist Javier Sotomayor. However, he followed in the footsteps of his uncle, Eulogio Robles (who represented Cuba in the 400m hurdles in the 1970s) and became a sprint hurdler instead.
In 2008, he went to the pinnacle of his career when he became the 110m hurdles world record holder and Olympic champion. The following year at the Berlin World Championships he failed to reach the final due to injury, and two years later, his victory in the 110m hurdles final at the 2011 Daegu World Championships was short-lived. He was disqualified soon after for obstructing archrival Liu Xiang of China, whose world record of 12.88secs he erased. Robles saw that gold medal go to Jason Richardson of the US and the silver to Xiang.
Robles’ troubles continued into 2012; this time back and right-leg injuries kept him out of the March 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. With these worries soon behind him, the 25-year-old, who hardly breaks a smile, was set to prove something at the London Olympics. But winning was not in the stars; he was unable to finish the final due to a recurrent injury.
At the beginning of the 2013 season, Robles requested removal from the national team and later said he would sit out the 2013 season because he was upset over his treatment by the Cuban Athletics Federation. The fallout deepened, and although he had been seen training on Cuban soil late in 2013, the Cuban athletics commissioner Jorge Luis Sanchez subsequently said neither Robles nor his trainer was authorized to take part in official competitions as Cuban representatives in Cuba or abroad.
Dayron, a big rap and reggae fan, has noted that he “wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth,” pointing out that as the product of parents from humble beginnings in Guantanamo, he was raised to value everything he has. With such deeply engrained attitude , he has modestly worked his way to gold and stardom.