BEIJING -- Thirteen seconds was more than enough for Liu Xiang to cross 10 hurdles and grab an Olympic gold medal, but it took the Chinese hurdler two years to arrive at the political arena as he appeared on Wednesday, for the first time, at a meeting of the country's top advisory body.
Liu Xiang, the 110m hurdles star and a political advisor, arrives for a panel discussion during the annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing on March 11, 2009. [Xinhua]
Liu's debut at the annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), just two days before the end of the event, captured interests of reporters, who waited for an interview with the sports star at at the entrance to the panel meeting room for advisors from the sports circle.
Liu, who had been in the United States for tendon injury treatment, previously asked for absence from this year's session, according to the annual session's reception office.
He was also absent from the advisory session last March, when he was in Spain to compete in the world indoor championship.
He returned to China on March 8 and spent one day in his hometown Shanghai before coming to Beijing Tuesday evening.
"As a new political advisor, I am honored to be here to perform my duty," the young man read a prepared speech.
Liu, 25, is one of the youngest among the 2,235 members of the nation's top political advisory body.
Liu was once the world record holder of the men's 110m hurdles. He stunned the world by withdrawing from the Beijing Olympics right on the track because of the tendon injury.