China's biggest hope for the Olympic athletics gold Liu Xiang is building up his form towards the men's 110 meters hurdles finals on Aug. 21 in the Beijing Olympic Games.
Chinese athlete Liu Xiang (L) attends the opening ceremony of the Olympic Village in Beijing, China, July 27, 2008. Liu is building up his form towards the men's 110 meters hurdles finals on Aug. 21 in the Beijing Olympic Games. [Xinhua]
Sun Haiping, Liu's coach, was quoted by the Chinese Athletics Association website as saying, "Liu had intensive training these days to compensate for what he had lost due to shortage of competitions before the Olympics."
The Olympic gold medalist, whose world record was taken over by Cuban Dayron Robles by one hundredth of a second to 12.87 seconds in June, is now cherishing every minute to prepare himself for the coming Olympic competition.
He will begin his title defense in the National Statium, better known as Bird's Nest, on August 18.
The 25-year-old Liu usually took international meets as he geared up for big events, like what he did before the Athens Olympics in 2004 and the Osaka IAAF World Championships in 2007.
His last show this year was an Olympic test event in May in the Bird's Nest, finishing an unimpressive 13.18 seconds.
In contrast, his arch rival Robles clocked 12.88 and 12.91 seconds in the past half month successively in Paris, France, and Stockholm, Sweden.
After pulling out the track in early June in New York due to worry about leg cramps, Liu was disqualified for a false start a week later in Eugene, Oregon.
"His injuries have been cured and no longer affect his normal training," said Sun, who was suspected by some of playing up Liu's so-called injuries before the Olympics.
"I previously plan a three-stage training program for Liu," Sun said. "But we just don't have enough time to implement all."
Sun said he was satisfied that Liu had gained 90 percent of his peak form.
Liu was rumored not to attend the Olympic opening ceremony on the night of August 8, which ruled him out one candidate for the mysterious last Olympic torch bearer who will light the flame in the main venue.
Sun said Liu, now residing in the Chinese national team's training camp, would move to the Olympic village around mid August.
(Xinhua News Agency August 5, 2008)