How much pressure Liu Xiang's injured Achilles tendon can bear remains a concern despite his stellar comeback to the track at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix on Sunday.
"I'm glad with Liu's result last night but I'm also worried a little bit because he was so aggressive in the race. I'm still worried about his injury," said Liu's coach, Sun Haiping.
"I hope he can control himself in the coming competitions and keep his eyes on the long-term goal," Sun said.
During surgery in Houston last December, four calcium deposits were removed from Liu's right Achilles tendon and he had to wait eight months for the injury to be fully healed.
"After (recent) scanning, we found Liu's Achilles tendon was ready to hold up in competitions," said Liu's doctor, Chen Shiyi.
"He should get used to competition gradually and control his speed. New tissues have grown to replace the injured ones but there is still the risk of a repeat injury."
"Two months ago he still felt pain after training," Sun said. "Now (after Sunday's race), he just felt a little tired but not sore. That's normal and he will feel better and better as he gradually gets used to competitions."
As for the future, next month's National Games, the East Asia Games in December and the Indoor World Championships next year are already marked on Liu's calendar.
With his biggest rival and current world record holder Dayron Robles of Cuba sidelined with a hamstring injury, Liu has a fine opportunity to rise to the top of the world standings again. His 13.15 effort in Shanghai was just 0.01 seconds off the time clocked by newly-crowned world champion Ryan Brathwaite at the Berlin Worlds and excited onlookers.
"I know from his coach that he is in very good shape, so he will do well," said Jos Hermens, director of the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix. "Next year, he will be back to the top of the world. For me, there is no doubt."
Russia's pole vault queen, Yelena Isinbayeva, agreed.
"(The result on Sunday) does not matter. The most important thing is that he has come back, he isn't injured and is in good shape," said Isinbayeva. "I'm sure that the competition on Sunday is a very good beginning for him. I feel happy for him."
(China Daily September 22, 2009)