Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Liu wins in Hong Kong

Former Olympic champion is victorious in the 110m hurdles at East Asian Games

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Liu Xiang of China, center, greets spectators before the start of the men's 110-meter hurdles finals at the East Asian Games Friday, Dec. 11, 2009 in Hong Kong. Liu won the gold medal in the event. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Photograph by: Eugene Hoshiko
Credit: AP
China’s former world and Olympic champion Liu Xiang took another step in his recovery from a career-threating injury on Friday by winning the 110 metres hurdles at the East Asian Games in Hong Kong.

Liu coasted to victory against a mediocre field in a time of 13,66 seconds, well behind the 12,88 he ran to set a world record in 2006 before a torn achilles forced him to limp out of the Beijing Olympics last year.

Cuba’s Dayron Robles has since bettered the world record by one-hundreth of a second.

“My foot is good, there wasn’t much problem, but it was a little sore,” the 26-year-old Liu told reporters on the track, where his every move was cheered by a sellout crowd of 3500 people.

“It will definitely get slowly better ... though I still have to protect my body a little more.” Liu, who finished second in an IAAF Golden Grand Prix in his home city of Shanghai in September before winning gold at last month’s Asian athletics championships, said the 2012 London Olympics were one of his major goals but played down the chances of taking back the world record.

“I haven’t even thought about breaking the world record, I don’t have such hopes at all,” said Liu.

“I have confidence in competing in London ... it may be my last Olympics so I’d like to have a good finish (to my career).” Liu’s long-time coach Sun Haiping described Liu’s performance as satisfactory, adding that the hurdler was a little tired.

“The recovery isn’t bad, but he still needs time,” Sun told reporters.

Next year’s schedule would depend on Liu’s progress but would likely include the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Doha in March and the Asian Games in Guangzhou, said Sun.


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