Liu hints at long absence due to injury, could miss 2009 worlds

Other News Materials 23 November 2008 14:09 (UTC +04:00)

China's athletics star Liu Xiang may not be fit to defend his 100 metres hurdles world title next year in Berlin due to a nagging Achilles tendon injury which also forced him out of the home Olympics in Beijing, dpa reported.

"I care so much about next season, whether I compete or not... I'm more concerned about my recovery," Liu was quoted as saying around the World Athletics Gala set for Sunday night.

Liu, 25, famously limped off the track ahead of his heat at the Olympics, to the shock of the whole nation. The injury has bothered him for years and Liu said he wasn't even pain-free when he ran a then world record 12.88 seconds 2006 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Liu rarely competed in 2008 and could also miss the 2009 season highlighted by the world championships in August in Berlin. Liu is set to undergo surgery next month at a specialist in the United States.

Liu became China's poster boy with an Olympic gold in 2004. The world record - by now bettered to 12.87 by Olympic champion Dayron Robles of Cuba - came in 2006 and Liu then also won the world title in 2007.