Liu Xiang spearheads Team China to Daegu meet
Updated: 2011-08-25 17:51
China's star hurdler Liu Xiang is welcomed by local fans as he arrives in Daegu, South Korea, for the upcoming Athletics World Championships, Aug 25, 2011.[Photo/Xinhua]
Liu Xiang arrives at the airport in Daegu, South Korea, for the upcoming Athletics World Championships, Aug 25, 2011.[Photo/Xinhua]
With the recovery of the star hurdler Liu Xiang and the emerging race walking trio, China is expecting two to three medals in the upcoming IAAF World Championships in Daegu slated for Aug 28 to Sept 4.
"Our goal is to win two to three medals in Daegu. But it is difficult to dope out the colour of the medals," said Feng Shuyong, head coach of the Chinese athletics team, during a Thursday's news conference.
The 58-athletes team, including two substitutes, is headed-up by former Olympic and world champion Liu Xiang. The 28-year-old Liu, flag-bearer of the country's athletics, has fully recovered from injuries and the Osaka worlds champion in 2007 is ready to repeat his gold-winning feet in Daegu.
However, it will not be easy for Liu, who has been striving to return to his peak form, to fulfil his ambition as he is still trying to smooth his new-adopted technique of approaching the first hurdle with seven steps instead of eight.
David Oliver of America showed a strong and consistent performance in the recent two seasons and the 29-year-old is still leading a season best of 12.94 seconds compared with Liu's personal season best of 13.00 second.
The world record holder Dayron Robles, who has also come back from injuries recently also will be of great competitiveness in Daegu with his season best being 13.04.
Moreover, Jason Richardson of American, who clocked a personal best of 13.08 early this month, will also pose great threat to Liu.
"Liu is in a good technical and physical condition now. He has recovered from his injuries and showed a high quality in his daily training, "said Feng. "But it will be the first time for him to run three races in two days since his injury in 2008. The intensity will be a big challenge for him. Currently Liu is busy with the final preparation work in Shanghai, under the guidance of his coach Sun Haiping."
"If Liu can clock a final time of 13.00 to 13.05, he will have a good chance to cruise to the podium. And the gold-winning time might be between 12.95 to 13.00," forecasted Feng.
Liu's return is definitely a good news, but the withdrawal of reigning women's marathon champ Bai Xue is a big blow for China.
And Wang Hao, who won a men's 20km race walking silver in 2009 Berlin worlds, will also be ruled out due to a haunting leg injury.
However, the absence of Wang will be well made up by the emerging trio of Wang Zhen, Chu Yafei and Chen Ding, who have swept the top five world leading times in 2011.
The rising star Wang Zhen, who will turn 20 next week, showed a solid performance by claiming a series of titles this season, including the test event for London Games in May and set a season leading time of one hour, 18 minutes, 36 seconds at the 9th Memorial Mario Albisetti in March.
Meanwhile, China will also be competitive in events like women's shot put, discus throw and hammer throw.
Hammer thrower Zhang Wenxiu set a new Asian record of 75.65 meters in June and Li Yanfeng keeps a world leading result of 67.98 in discus throw.
Feng believe that how to maintain their consistency in the World Championships is a big question for the Chinese athletes, especially the inexperienced and nervous young athletes.
"We have assembled a relatively young squad this time as 32 out of the 58 athletes have never competed in Olympic Games or World Championship," said Feng. "Lack of confidence and experience may lead to instability in their performance."
The Chinese athletes, who won one gold, one silver and two bronzes in 2009 in Berlin, will compete in 23 events in Daegu.
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