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Liu in comeback at Golden Grand Prix

CHINESE hurdler Liu Xiang will return to competition at next weekend's Shanghai Golden Grand Prix for the first time in 13 months since hobbling out of the Beijing Olympics, organizers said yesterday.

The 26-year-old former Olympic and world 110 meters hurdles champion had an operation last December to repair the Achilles injury that ended his Olympic title defence. He resumed training in July.

"After communicating with the Chinese Athletic Association, the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix committee has officially announced that Liu Xiang will compete at the SHGGP this year," said a statement on the event's Website (

The return of Liu in his home city is a huge boost to the organizers of the September 20 event at Shanghai Stadium after Olympic and world champion sprinter Usain Bolt pulled out on Friday, citing fatigue.

Liu will face his biggest challenge from American hurdler Terrence Trammell, silver medalist in the 110 meters hurdles at both the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics.

Despite his aborted title defence at the Beijing Olympics, Liu remains one of China's highest profile sportsmen but organizers warned against expecting too much from him.

"After careful inspection, the doctor has confirmed that Liu's foot injury has healed enough for him to compete in the race," the statement added. "It will take some time for him to return to top form. As a result, the committee has appealed to Liu's fans to give their encouragement but not focus too much on the final result."

Liu's Website ( said he ran a time of 13.70 seconds on Thursday, well outside the 12.88 he ran to claim his world record in 2006, but enough to convince him he was ready to return.

Liu was China's first male Olympic gold medalist on the track when he raced to a surprise victory in Athens in 2004 and he added the world record and world title to his collection over the next three years.

"Liu is keen to return to the track as early as possible," said China's athletics head coach Feng Shuyong.


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