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China's Liu Xiang almost sure to skip Berlin worlds
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China's hurdling star Liu Xiang will return from injury at the IAAF Shanghai Golden Grand Prix on September 20, his first race after the shock withdrawal from the qualifying heat at last year's Olympic Games, organizers said on Tuesday.

Shi Derong, a top official of the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix, told reporters that Liu will put the event as his first race after the Beijing Olympic Games.

It means that the Athens Olympic champion will not be able to defend his world title at the Berlin world championships in August.

The 25-year-old Liu just returned to Shanghai early in March following three months in the United States, where he underwent an operation in December to repair his Achilles tendon, which forced him to pull out of the Beijing Olympics.

But Liu's coach, Sun Haiping, said that Liu's hope for the Berlin worlds is still not dead.

"I hope the Shanghai Grand Prix will be his first race after the injury. But if he recovers well, it is still possible for him to compete in Berlin," Sun said.

"Everything depends on how he will recover in the coming months," Sun said.

Sun also said that Liu must run inside 13.20 seconds before qualifying for the world championships.

Liu competed in the world championships four times from 2001. He won the bronze in 2003, silver in 2005 and gold in 2007.

His title in Osaka two years ago is also the only one for Chinese men's track and field in the world championships history.

The Shanghai Golden Grand Prix was inaugurated in 2005 and has been held four times. Liu, who won twice in 2005 and 2006, did not enter the race last year.

(Xinhua News Agency April 8, 2009)

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