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October 24, 2009

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Coach tells Liu to run a risk-free race

CHINA'S former Olympic champion hurdler Liu Xiang has been ordered to put safety first by his coach in his second race after more than a year out injured.

However, Sun Haiping has also informed the 26-year-old he must win his preliminary heat at the National Games in around 13.30 seconds.

"We have two conditions," Sun told yesterday's Chengdu Business News. "The first is to ensure he runs injury free.

"We don't want anything unexpected to happen because he is trying to run too fast so safety first."

Sun added: "The second condition is that he come in first in a time of about 13.30 seconds."

Liu will run today to qualify for tomorrow's final at Jinan's Olympic Sports Center in Shandong Province.

The 2004 Olympic 110 meters hurdles champion returned to competition following Achilles tendon surgery at last month's Shanghai Golden Grand Prix.

Liu, who hobbled out of the heats in tears at last year's Beijing Olympics, ran a wind-assisted 13.15 seconds but was pipped at the line by American Terrence Trammell.

One of China's highest-profile athletes, Liu held the world record of 12.88 until Cuban Dayron Robles ran 12.87 in June last year before winning the Olympic gold in Beijing.

Organizers said yesterday that Liu's presence had boosted ticket sales with 34,900 tickets for the Sunday's final already sold out.


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