Chinese star hurdler Liu Xiang will be back in time for the World Championships next August if his rehabilitation goes according to plan, China's athletics senior official said yesterday.
"The full recovery of Liu depends on many factors and it is hard to predict right now," said Feng Shuyong, vice-director of Chinese Athletics Administrative Center. "If he is in good condition, it will be possible for him to run at the World Championships next year."
The 25-year-old had surgery on his right Achilles' tendon in Houston on Dec 6.
The injury forced Liu to withdraw from the first round of the men's 110m hurdles event at the Beijing Olympics in August.
Last Friday, Liu returned to hospital for the third consultation with doctors after surgery.
His recovery is going very well and he can walk without crutches right now, but he is still required to wear a special shoe.
"After two more weeks, Liu may be able to walk in the pool," Liu's coach Sun Haiping, who is accompanying him during his rehabilitation in the US, said.
"At that time, Liu will practice walking in the pool with the resistance of water. The doctor said Liu was in very good condition."
But officials are still reluctant to confirm when Liu will return to competition.
"If he can resume normal training in June, it's highly possible for him to participate in the World Championships in August," Feng said. "But participating in the Worlds is not a compulsory task for Liu. If he feels good with his foot at that time, taking part will help him rebuild his confidence - it's important for him to say 'I can' to himself.
"We cannot push him to come back quickly. If he cannot make it back in time for the Worlds, he could run some national competitions first."
(China Daily December 24, 2008)