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Liu not running 'to save the box office', says coach

CHINESE hurdler Liu Xiang is not returning to competition in next weekend's Shanghai Golden Grand Prix to help ticket sales after the withdrawal of Usain Bolt, according to his coach.

Liu's much-anticipated return after 13 months out injured was announced by organizers just 24 hours after triple Olympic and world sprint champion Bolt said he would not be running because he was fatigued after a long season.

"I don't think Liu is being forced to run because of Bolt's absence," the 26-year-old's mentor Sun Haiping told China Youth Daily.

"There is no such so-called 'saving the box office'. Liu has just recovered enough for competition."

Former Olympic and world 110 meters hurdles champion Liu is a native of Shanghai and his presence will certainly be a boost to organizers, who have 56,000 tickets to sell at the Shanghai Stadium for next Sunday's meeting.

Liu's appearance will be his first since his dramatic departure from the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing on August 18 last year after an Achilles injury prevented him from starting his Olympic title defense.


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