Hurdler Liu gets in 1st blow against Johnson
Updated: 2004-08-25 07:59
Chinese 110-metres hurdler Xiang Liu struck an early blow in his bid
to deprive 1996 Olympic champion Allen Johnson of the title in Athens Tuesday as
he won his heat and recorded a far superior time.
China's Liu Xiang
competes in the first round of the men's 110m hurdles at the Olympic
Stadium in Athens. Liu struck an early blow in his bid to deprive 1996
Olympic champion Allen Johnson of the title as he won his heat and
recorded a far superior time. [Xinhua]
Johnson by contrast finished in third position, but said he wasn't in the
least bit concerned about that, though he will be by Liu as he has singled out
the bronze medallist at the world outdoors last year and this year's world
indoors as his biggest threat.
Liu recorded the third fastest time of the first round heats behind Frenchman
Ladji Doucoure and 2000 Olympic champion Anier Garcia of Cuba, who has missed
most of the last year after suffering five different injuries to his legs.
Liu wasn't the only Asian hurdler to shine as Satoru Tanigawa broke the
Japanese national record in finishing third in his heat, timing 13.39 seconds.
Johnson wasn't too flustered about not winning his heat.
"I felt great and I am happy to have advanced," said the four-time world
"I'm looking forward to the next round and I can assure you there's more to
come," added the 33-year-old, who has been upset of late since his girlfriend
and world 100m champion Torri Edwards was served a two year ban for doping.
Johnson's teammate Terrence Trammell had no such easy passage as the silver
medallist from the 2000 Games struggled in fifth place behind Haiti's Dudley
The 25-year-old admitted that mornings just weren't his thing as he had to
rely on being one of the fastest losers to get through.
"I felt very sluggish but there's nothing wrong," said Trammell, the silver
medallist at the world championships last year.
"At least this is the last morning session and everything else comes at
Doucoure's performance suggested that France might still avoid recording a
second successive zero medals in the athletics at the Olympics as he recorded a
time of 13.18sec to set a new national record.
However he was wary of making any wild predictions.
"This shows I am focussed and I hope to make the final," said the
"However we saw what happened to Christine Arron (she crashed out in the
semis of the 100m) so it is vital I keep this race locked inside my