Although he will miss the upcoming World Championships in Berlin, China's star hurdler, Liu Xiang, is well on his way to recovering from his foot injury.
Liu has returned to wearing spiked shoes while hurdling after positive results from a recent physical check-up. A group of photos were posted on Liu's official website yesterday with a caption which read, "Liu's rehabilitation is going well and he has trained in spikes".
According to Shanghai-based Jiefang Daily, Liu went for a check-up recently and the results showed he would be able to hurdle in spikes.
"Compared with normal training shoes, the spikes are more tight around the ankle, so I was worried about whether my Achilles tendon could handle that. But after training with them for a while, I found I'm OK with them and I'm very excited about it," Liu told Jiefang Daily.
The Achilles injury forced the reigning world champion to withdraw from the first round of the men's 110m hurdles at the Beijing Olympics. After surgery in the US last December, Liu has been undergoing a rehabilitation program in his hometown of Shanghai. To avoid a recurrence of his injury, he was not allowed to hurdle with spiked shoes but could walk or jog in them since May.
As China's biggest athletics star, Liu is a media magnet. His last public training session in June in Shanghai attracted hundreds of reporters from home and abroad. However, this time, he chose to release his progress quietly with several photos on his website and a single story.
"A year has past (since I got the injury) and I have experienced up and downs. Now, I've improved to such step finally, so I will treasure it and work harder," Liu said.
For the Berlin Worlds, which will start on Friday, Liu's original plan was to watch the action live in Berlin but he has dropped that idea to concentrate on further rehabilitation at home.
(China Daily August 12, 2009)