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Wanda Diamond League Call Room - Eugene edition


The Wanda Diamond League Call Room lockdown series continues today (7) at 20:00 GMT with its Eugene edition, with world 100m champion Christian Coleman, 400m hurdles star Rai Benjamin and US 1500m record-holder Shelby Houlihan taking the stage on the Diamond League's ​Facebook page​ and ​YouTube​ channel.

Coleman has thrown down the gauntlet to his rivals, claiming that he wants to win Olympic gold more than anybody else in the world.

“Man, I feel like I want it more than anybody else,” Coleman said. “I've been putting the work in and grinding. I want the Olympic gold medal as the result of my hard work.

“That should be everybody's mindset, you shouldn't be afraid of putting yourself out there and saying this is what you want to do.

“There can only be one winner, and I want it to be me.”

Coleman surrendered his Diamond League title to compatriot Noah Lyles last season, but bounced back to be crowned 100m world champion in Doha later that year.

And he believes that he can also make an impact in the 200m going forward.

I feel like a great competitor in the 100m, but also in the 200m,” he said. “One of the things I would say about my coach is that he builds his athletes up to compete at multiple distances.

“I want to be as competitive as I can in the 200m.”

Benjamin - 'Don't count out Samba'

Meanwhile, US 400m hurdles star Benjamin has admitted that the coronavirus lockdown has been an “emotional rollercoaster” in which he has struggled to keep himself motivated.

“I am frustrated because I was definitely prepared to run fast this year,” he said.

“Our fall training was really excellent. We did a lot to be ready to race this season, especially as it was an Olympic year.

“At first it was kind of depressing. You go to practice every day and you think: what am I working for? I struggled for a few weeks trying to find the motivation to do it.

“But hearing that the circuit could possibly come back has given me the motivation again. It's been a rollercoaster ride of emotions.”

Benjamin narrowly missed out on the Diamond League title last season, despite running a jaw-dropping personal best of 46.98 in the final in Zurich.

Speaking of that narrow defeat to Norwegian rival Karsten Warholm, Benjamin said: “It was a crazy race. I remember every single step, every thought I had. That was the most I ever thought in a race. It was ridiculous.”

Benjamin also believes that Abderrahman Samba will soon return to world-beating form.

"In the midst of the conversation about me and Karsten Warholm, a lot of people forget about Samba,” Benjamin said.

“He was hurt last season so a lot of people have neglected him. But he would have been a huge challenge. He's gonna bring it next season, and so is Karsten. At that point I have no chance, I have to bring it too!”

Houlihan: 'I binged on junk food'

Meanwhile, Houlihan has admitted that as soon as she heard the 2020 Olympics had been postponed, she went straight out and binged on junk food.

“I kind of went a little crazy honestly,” she said.

“The first week after the Olympics were called off, I went out and binged on junk food for like a week. There were bags of chips, ice cream, cookies, and family-sized bags of candy. I even made cakes and brownies.”

“I was kind of enjoying not having something to look forward to, and trying to enjoy the moment and make the best of it."

The middle and long-distance star claims she is still in fine shape, however, having “only taken one day off since October”.

In this episode, Houlihan also talks about her breakthrough victory at the Prefontaine Classic in 2018, as well as her “bittersweet” national record at last year’s World Championships.

And candy bars and cookies aside, Houlihan believes that those triumphs can be the springboard for Olympic success in 2021.

“Having those two years behind me knowing that I am capable of competing at that level. I feel like I can go to the Olympics with a very good chance of medalling or winning. That's a big jump from where I was four years ago."

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