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Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang aims high for Olympic year

02-19-2012 09:14 BJT

LONDON, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- China's Liu Xiang showed his super confidence for the new season and the Olympic year after beating Dayron Robles of Cuba in his personal best 7.41 seconds to win the men's 60m hurdle at the Birmingham indoor tournament on Saturday.

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, the Athens Olympic champion, crossed the line first and improved his former best mark by 0.01 seconds.

"Now, I'm like in a dream. I never imagined that I can set a new Asian record by myself," said the 28-year-old winner.

"I have done many things that is regarded as impossible. So for the following year, who knows what will happen?" said the former world No.1, who didn't like to share his final objective but which was believed to be re-grabbing his Olympic crown after Beijing's shock injury-hit quit.

Robles followed in 7.50 and Dexter Faulk of the United States stood third in 7.54.

The 28-year-old Chinese then renewed his advantageous head-to- head records against Robles by increasing to eight wins out of their 13 meetings.

The victory is not only a good start for his new season, but also means a lot to his outdoor performance, including the Olympics.

Liu's coach Sun Haipin told Xinhua that if Liu could run into 7. 50 in the indoor event, then the former record marker could also be able to race into 13.00 seconds in the 110m event at the outdoor tournament this year.

Therefore, Saturday's victory proves that Liu has moved closer to the world's leading results and also his best 12.88 seconds.

"I still feel though that over the first two hurdles I didn't do very well and that there is work to be done there.

"I am excited about the rest of the year now," said Liu, who had changed his usual eight-step start before the first hurdle to seven since last year.

According to Sun, it was a in-time strategy adjustment as Liu's training level improved day by day and he felt a little bit tight in the old ways.

"For Asian athletes, they always choose eight steps.

"But Liu is nearly 1.90-meter high and has the ability to use seven steps as many Europrean and American players always do," said the coach.

Robles is the current world record holder with 12.87 and also is the defending Olympic champion for this summer's London Games.

It was the pair's first meeting since the world championships in Daegu last summer, where Liu took silver after Robles was disqualified for disrupting him despite finishing the race in first place.

The 25-year-old Cuban will race again alongside Liu then in Stockholm indoor tournament later this month and Istanbul world indoor championships in March where he hopes to narrow the gap between himself and his Chinese good friend, also a competitor.

 

Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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