Former world champion hurdler Liu Xiang was back on the track yesterday for his first open training session since returning from the United States.
The 25-year-old Shanghai native returned to the city on Sunday after successfully undergoing a foot surgery followed by three months' rehabilitation in Houston.
Sun Haiping (L), the coach of Chinese 110m hurdle star Liu Xiang works on Liu's foot prior to a training session in Shanghai, east China, March 10, 2009. [Xinhua]
Liu, who became China's first Olympic gold medal winner in a men's track event at Athens, was forced to withdraw from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. He limped off the track even before the start of the first heat.
Local doctors have been briefed about his rehabilitation, while his coach Sun Haiping is in charge of his training programs.
During the training session very early in the morning in Shanghai yesterday, Liu completed several special training sessions with skill and ease. He also jogged for half a lap.
He did not respond to any questions from the media.
"As a young man, he adapted to the time difference and resumed his training very quickly. I have confidence in his capabilities," his coach Sun said.
"We feel better after coming home. Now Liu Xiang can have regular training schedules and rest according to a timetable. He is also receiving physical therapy every evening."
It is still not clear when Liu will race competitively again. Sun noted that the sprinter was still not able to hurdle and wear spike shoes now.
"We should be patient and wait for his new muscle and tendon to grow. It will likely take around two months before he resumes full training," Sun said.
Special track shoes are also being designed to protect his feet during training.
Liu's current training regime will mainly focus on improving his strength and running speed.