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UPDATED: 10:22, May 09, 2004
Chinese hurdler Liu beats Johnson to win in Osaka
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Photo:Liu Xiang sets 110m hurdles Asian record
Liu Xiang sets 110m hurdles Asian record
Chinese star hurdler Liu Xiang outran world champion Allen Johnson with a new Asian record of 13.06 seconds to win the men's 110 meters hurdle title at the Osaka athletics international meet on May 8.

The 20-year-old's time beat the previous Asian mark of 13.12 seconds, also the standing world junior record, which was set in the Lausanne Grand Prix in 2002.

The victory was a surprise as it came at the expense of former Olympic champion and multi-world titlist Johnson, who finished second in 13.13. Maurice Wignall of Jamaica was third with 0.17 seconds behind Johnson.

World silver medallist Terrence Trammell of the United States was fourth in 13.31.

Photo:Liu Xiang sets 110m hurdles Asian record
Liu Xiang sets 110m hurdles Asian record
Liu, bronze medallist in last year's world championships in Paris, said he had to run with a leg injury, which was sustained in training earlier.

"I am not in my best form today, and the leg still hurts. But Iam very happy with the result," said the Shanghai-born hurdler.

Liu appeared extreme excited after winning the race and beating the great American Johnson.

"This is my first international outdoor race. I am very happy to beat Johnson and Trammell," he said. "The victory will be remembered for a long time and encourage me to get better."

Liu, Chinese athletics' biggest medal hopeful in the Athens Olympic Games, said he could have had a better time if he had cleared the first three hurdles quicker.

But he believes that Johnson is still enjoying an upper hand.

"To tell the truth, he is still stronger than me. But I am confident of running a good time in Athens," he said.

Liu took the silver medal at the world indoor championships in Budapest early this year crushing his own Asian indoor record with a fast time of 7.43. He showed brilliant form again last month in the opening stage of the Chinese Grand Prix in Nanning with 13.20,his third best time and the fastest time on home soil.

He was forced to pull out of the final at the second stage in Guilin one week later after suffering a fever.

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