SHANGHAI, April 8 – Shanghai track meet organisers hope Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang will use their September event to compete for the first time since withdrawing from last year's Olympics, Chinese media reported Wednesday.
Liu, the reigning 110m world champion and 2004 Olympic gold medallist, will not compete in the world championships in Berlin in August as he recovers from surgery on his Achilles tendon, his coach Sun Haiping said.
"Liu will miss the World Championships because we have to ensure his recovery goes smoothly and avoid any risks," Sun was quoted as saying by Chinese Internet portal sina.com.
Shanghai’s Golden Grand Prix organisers echoed Sun’s previous suggestions that Liu could begin his comeback at their event in September, at a news conference on Tuesday, but said the track star had yet to commit.
"If Liu Xiang decides to return to the track, then this year’s Shanghai Golden Grand Prix will be the first international competition he participates in," the Oriental Morning Post quoted meet general manager Gu Shuhang as saying.
Liu, 25, has been training in seclusion since returning to Shanghai last month after three months in the United States, where he underwent an operation in December to repair the Achilles tendon that forced his dramatic withdrawal from the Beijing Olympics.
Liu was one of China’s brightest stars at the Games last August but he shocked the nation by pulling up injured in the first qualifying heat.
Many Chinese have expressed sympathy that Liu was under excessive pressure to come back from his injury in time for the Olympics.
Liu’s comeback is far from guaranteed, with Chinese sporting officials publicly expressing concerns that his best times are behind him. Liu himself has said another injury would likely mean the end of his career.