Chinese hurdler and Olympic champion Liu Xiang has run into a completely new arena after being elected a member of the nation's top political advisory body.
Liu, 25, was one of the youngest among the 2,237 people who had been chosen as members of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Sunday's Beijing News reported.
Liu, the world record holder of the men's 110m hurdles at 12.88 became a hero and idol in China after winning the first Olympic track and field gold for the Chinese male athletes in the 2004 Athens Games.
Several sports personalities, including Xu Haifeng, China's first Olympic gold medalist and Ma Junren, coach of a handful of star distance runners, were no longer members of the political advisory body.
(Xinhua News Agency January 27, 2008)