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Turning to sports China’s Liu Xiang began his new season and Olympic year by beating arch-rival Dayron Robles of Cuba to win the men's 60-meter hurdles final at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix on Saturday.
Liu, the Athens Olympic champion ran a new personal best time of 7-point-4-1 seconds improving on his previous fastest time by 0-point-0-1 seconds.
Robles claimed the silver in 7-point-5-0 and Dexter Faulk of the US took the bronze in 7-point-5-4 seconds. The 28-year-old Chinese now holds an 8 to 5 advantage over Robles in head-to-head meetings. The victory is not only a good start for his new season but also bodes well for his outdoor season which this year includes the London Olympics.
Liu Xiang of China crosses a hurdle during the men's 60m hurdles final at the Birmingham indoor tournament in Birmingham, Feb. 18, 2012. Liu Xiang wins the men's 60m hurdles final at the Birmingham indoor tournament on Saturday. [Xinhua/Yin Gang]
Liu's coach Sun Hai-pin says if Liu could run under 7-point-5-0 in the indoor event then the former world-record holder is capable of running sub-13 seconds in the 110 meter event.
Saturday’s victory raises optimism that Liu is in a good position to lower his personal best time of 12-point-8-8 seconds and to claim the gold at this year’s Olympics.