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Liu routs Robles at British Grand Prix

BIRMINGHAM, England, February 18 – Chinese star Liu Xiang beat Cuban rival Dayron Robles at the British Grand Prix Indoor here Saturday in the first clash of the hurdlers since their controversial World Championship showdown last year.

Liu blasted to victory in the 60m hurdles in a world best time this season of 7.41secs while Robles was a distant second in 7.50, with America’s Dexter Faulk third in 7.54.

Robles, the reigning Olympic champion, was stripped of his 110m hurdles gold at the World Championships in Daegu last August after being adjudged to have fouled Liu as the two dashed for the line.

The disqualification saw Jason Richardson elevated to gold while Liu won silver. However many felt Liu — winner of gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics — would have won had it not been for Robles’ actions.

In Birmingham on Saturday the 28-year-old from Shanghai had no such problems, leading from the start and clearing every hurdle smoothly as Robles struggled in his slipstream.

The result was the perfect confidence-boost for Liu, who is preparing for the upcoming World Indoor Championships in Istanbul as he attempts to win back his Olympic crown from Robles later this year.

In other events Saturday, Asafa Powell suffered a surprise defeat to compatriot Lerone Clarke as Jamaican sprinters dominated the 60m final.

Commonwealth Games 100m champion Clarke swept home in 6.47secs, the fastest time of the year, ahead of another Jamaican, Nesta Carter in second with 6.49. Powell trailed in third with 6.50.

In the finale to the day, Britain’s 5,000m world champion Mo Farah had to be content with a second place finish in a race over two miles, the Somalia-born distance runner clocking 8min 8.07secs behind winner Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya.

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Uganda’s Moses Kipsiro finished third.

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