China's top track and field star Liu Xiang will return home to Shanghai around March 10 after spending several months recovering from ankle surgery in the United States, local media reported yesterday.
The Athens Olympic gold medalist hurdler has surprised doctors in Houston with his speedy recovery but he has not confirmed whether he will attempt to defend his world title at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin in August.
Coach Sun Haiping said Liu is looking forward to his homecoming.
"He is in a good mood right now because he will be back home soon," Liu was quoted as saying by China's Soccer Newspaper.
The paper also revealed that Feng Shuyong, who heads up the country's Track and Field Administrative Center, will fly to the United States in two days for a final examination of Liu's injury. After that a comprehensive recovery plan will be drawn up for the athlete.
Liu was dealt a cruel blow last August when his leg played up during the preliminary rounds of Olympic competition leaving him unable to defend his crown on home soil.
A successful operation on his right Achilles' tendon in December by American doctor Tom Clanton has left Liu able to train unaided ahead of schedule but Sun remains cautious.
The coach invited an American-Chinese doctor to make another examination of the record-breaking hurdler several days ago.
"There is an old Chinese saying that claims it takes 100 days to recover from a minor tendon or bone injury," he said. "Not to mention the fact that Liu has also had surgery."
Sun said that the 100-day mark could prove critical as patients get too complacent and push too hard, too fast.
"The doctor said that the current period is the most dangerous as people will be too relaxed and the injury tends to recur," he said. "So we must be extremely careful in the coming days."
(China Daily March 3, 2009)