Sports / Stars

Liu leaping from strength to strength

By Lei Lei (China Daily) Updated: 2012-06-04 08:06

Liu leaping from strength to strength

Shot at world record blown away, but Chinese star doesn't care

Although the strong wind cost China's Liu Xiang a share of the 110 meters hurdles world record at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting on Saturday in Eugene, Oregon, the Chinese star hurdler had more than enough to be happy about.

"Keep working hard," Liu wrote on his micro blog two hours after the race, in which he held off a star-studded field to equal the world record in a wind-aided 12.87 sec.

Liu, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist, blasted out of the blocks and led from start to finish with the help of a strong tailwind measured at +2.4 meters per second in front of a standing-room only crowd at Hayward Field.

Because of the tailwind, 28-year-old Liu does not get to share the world record held by Cuba's Dayron Robles.

But Liu is more than happy to announce his return to peak form after a long battle to recover from a serious foot injury that forced him to withdraw from the first round of the event at the Beijing Olympic Games.

"If a 12.87-sec result doesn't mean I'm back to my peak, it's (too dishonest) " Liu said after the race. "I'm happy with my results. Although I did well in Shanghai, with a good time of 12.97 sec, I just treated this race as a regular one and let myself perform each detail well. Actually, I'm strong in all aspects, but I still need to concentrate on every race."

Liu exceeded his run in Shanghai last month, where he edged three American hurdlers - Aries Merritt, Jason Richardson and David Oliver. The world record holder and reigning champion Robles didn't make it to the US meet due to visa problems.

Liu has attributed his scintillating form to a change in technique, taking seven steps before the first hurdle instead of his previous eight.

"The most significant thing about my technique is my start, where I take seven steps," Liu said.

"But today I made a mistake at the third hurdle which lasted until the sixth hurdle because the wind was pushing me so much."

His remarkable performance attracted high praise from experts and as his large fan base.

Feng Shuyong, head coach of the Chinese athletics team, wrote on his micro blog that: "12.87 sec is perfect. Beating the Americans on their home soil is very important".

The IAAF's after-race report said, "his path over the flights of barriers (was) so smooth and assured that the world record seems likely to be back in his grasp before very long".

In a survey on, 61.06 percent of the respondents said, "Liu is 'awesome', and he is highly likely to break the world record at the London Olympics".

Despite his performance, Liu, when asked if he should now be considered the favorite for London, replied: "No, for me I am already an Olympic champion. It is just a race for me. I always treat my races the same."

AFP contributed to this story

Liu leaping from strength to strength

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