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Liu Xiang dismisses comeback report

STAR Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang has dismissed a media report that he plans to return to the track in his home city at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix in September.

He sent a short message to Modern Express, saying the report is "nonsense," the Nanjing-based newspaper reported today.

Liu said in the message that everything is uncertain except for one thing: he will definitely join the 11th National Games in Shandong Province this October.

But the organizer of the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix yesterday said Liu, who had to pull out of the 2008 Beijing Olympics with a damaged Achilles tendon, will make his return there.

The event, on September 20, is in the final year of a five-year agreement.

If it is true, it means Liu will not be able to defend his world title at the Berlin world championships in August.

Liu, who took gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics and is a former world champion and former world record holder in the men's 110-meter hurdles, won the first two Shanghai Golden GPs in 2005 and 2006. He finished third in 2007 and did not take part in the 2008 race because of his injury.

He underwent an operation to repair heel damage late last year in Houston, Texas.

The nation's sports officials, Liu's coach and family have all denied the return plan, saying it was too early and everything depended on how he recovered.

Feng Shuyong, vice dean of the track and field center with the General Administration of Sports said he has never heard about the return plan. There will be no discussions about Liu's return until early June, he said.

"It all depends on how well Liu's injury mends," Feng added.

Liu's coach Sun Haiping echoed Feng's words. He said he hoped Liu would make the Shanghai prix his comeback, but it all depended on how Liu recovered.

Liu's father also said it was too early to decide. He said Liu would probably have a public training session next week.


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