An IAAF Press Conference was held Monday in advance of the 2006 IAAF World Junior Championships, August 15-20 in Beijing China. Athletes participating in the press conference included 2005 World Youth 400m hurdles champion Ebony Collins (USA), 2003 World Youth Pole Vault champion and 2004 World Junior silver medalist German Chiaraviglio (Argentina), 2005 World Youth High Jump champion Huang Haiqiang (China), 2003 World Youth Javelin Throw silver medalist John Robert Oosthuizen (South Africa), and third-ranked on the world junior list in the hammer throw Hao Shuai (China).
Collins was the 2005 USATF Youth Athlete of the year after winning gold in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2005 IAAF World Youth Championships in a meet record time of 55.96 seconds. Collins also earned a silver medal in the 100m in 11.44 seconds just 30 minutes after the 400 hurdles first round. Excerpts from Ebony Collins at Monday's event follow.
You have dominated your event as a youth athlete but as a 17-year-old you are one of the youngest junior athletes here in Beijing. So will this championships be more about gaining experience and getting to the final or do you believe you have real hopes of a medal?
I'm confident that I will do my best. I will do my very best and I hope I'll improve my personal best, but I cannot say what pace I will have to run to win.
You are best known as a 400m Hurdler and will compete at this event here but what is your favorite event?
I like the 400-meter hurdles but my favorite event is the open 400 because I don't have to worry about falling!
You have been running since you were four years old, what do you like about being an athlete?
I like the travel and the competition and just doing something I love and that I am good at. I also like meeting new people from other countries and from the U.S.
How much are you aware of your competition?
I really don't focus on everyone else, it is not that I don't care about them or worry about them. It makes me scared when I know what everyone else is running. I just focus on myself.
When did you start focusing on making the team?
It has been a goal of mine since last year, but I didn't start to focus on it until the end of the high school season.
For more information on Team USA at the 2006 World Junior Championships, visit USATF.org.