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Hu Kai Keeps Eye on Beijing Olympics After Failure in Asiad Semifinals
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China's best-known sprinter Hu Kai puts his eye on the Beijing Olympic Games in two years after clocking a disappointing 10.75 seconds Saturday morning with a strained right thigh to miss the final of the men's 100 meters at the 15th Asian Games in the evening.

The "Flying Man of Spectacles", as he is known in China, sustained the injury in Friday's qualifying round, where he timed 10.64 seconds trailing after the hosts Qatar's Alwaleed Abdulla Abdulla and Kazakhstan's Vyacheslav Muravyev in the second heat.

"It's just an overnight. I didn't have enough time to get recovered from the injury," said Hu, who jumped to fame after winning his international debut in the World University Games in Izmir, Turkey, in August, 2005.

"With the injury, I did not dare to use my full strength in getting off the mark and that prevented me from finding my rhythm out of the blocks," he added.

But the 24-year-old, a student from the prestigious Tsinghua University in China, who also claimed the East Asian Games title last year, has set the goal upon the Beijing Olympics and made it the most important in his mind.

"My target is to win a place in China's relay team and try to get something really satisfactory in the Games. That's why I'm performing so cautious here," said Hu.

"Nothing can be more important than keeping fit for this goal," he added.

Finishing last in the eight-man heat 1 of semis on Saturday morning, Hu was denied any slim hope of advancing, while the only other Chinese here made the semis when Wen Yongyi later put his name in the last eight after crossing the finish line third in Heat 2.

"It's not my best performance," commented Wen, a native of Shandong province in East China.

"Regarding to my records, reaching the final should surprise noone," he added. "And if Hu had not injured himself, he should have made it, too."

The 22-year-old, however, has paid more attention to the men's 4x100 meters relay on Monday, in which Hu Kai will also take part, than Saturday evening's sprint final.

"I'll go all out this evening, and try to keep myself away from the last finish," Wen said. "But for me, and for my team also, what we want most is a good result from the relay. I'll make the sprint final working as a warm-up for the relay.

"Relay is a category that we can vie for title against the Westerns and Africans on the international stage," he added.

"Wen and I will both try our best," echoed Hu Kai.

"But for me, I'll keep myself free of injure, firstly," Hu added.

(Xinhua News Agency December 9, 2006)

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