Spain’s Didac Salas and Ana Peleteiro should be tipped as two of the safest bets for the host nation. Both now rank among the top-five in their respective events on this season’s world lists and look forward to competing in front of their Spanish crowd.
Ana Peleteiro: "Competing at home is fantastic, I don’t feel any pressure"
Born in December 1995, the Spanish triple jumper is the youngest by far among the favourites at her event. Actually, Peleteiro will be eligible for the following World Junior Championships to be held in Eugene, Oregon (USA) in two year’s time.
Despite her age Peleteiro is not short of international experience as she bagged the bronze medal at last year’s World Youth Championships held in Lille. In addition, the gold medal at the 2011 European Youth Olympic Festival is also to her credit.
Coached by Abelardo Moure, Peleteiro has set a number of Spanish Youth and Junior records this season topped by her 13.53 (-0.2 m/s) effort at the National Junior championships held in Avilés a fortnight ago.
In her build-up for Barcelona, the Spaniard commented: "Last year I came third in Lille, this year I have managed the qualifying standard for these Worlds and I have been focused on improving my technique, I have worked really hard."
Asked on her expectations here, the 16-year-old was adamant, "I hope to make the podium and set a new career best in the process."
Peleteiro also confirmed she won’t be hampered by the burden of competing in Spain: "I only see the positive side of being and competing at home as that’s an enormous boost for me, I don´t feel any pressure".
Didac Salas: "I’m in the form of my life"
The 19-year-old Salas will be delighted to improve on his 5th place from last World Juniors in Moncton. Since then, Salas’ achievements have proved to be never ending with the Youth Olympics title and the European Junior silver medal just to name a few of his accolades.
In terms of performances, Salas has also excelled having very recently set a National record of 5.55 to rise to the 2nd place among the Barcelona entrants following the withdrawal of the season’s leader at 5.72 America’s Andrew Irvin.
For much of his career, Salas has been training under the knowledgeable guidance of Hans Ruf, who led Spain’s Javier García Chico to an unexpected bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics held on the same venue, the Lluis Companys stadium. However, this year’s Spanish senior indoor champion has switched coaches from Ruf to Gabriel Martínez barely a week ago.
At today’s press conference, Salas declared: "I feel great, I’m in the form of my life. I have been training both physically and technically throughout the whole year to perform as good as possible here. Luckily, I have been able to improve my performances this season."
On the possibility of vaulting 6.00m some day, Salas confessed: "That’s the dream of any vaulter and of course I would like to be a member of that club in the future."