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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 17:11, July 12, 2006
Zhu Jianhua stays away from Liu Xiang hoopla
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A former world record holder declined to comment on Liu Xiang's world record run in Switzerland as other Chinese track and field legends poured praises on the star hurdler.

Zhu Jianhua, who broke the men's high jump world record three times from 1983 to 1984 but only managed a bronze medal in the 1984 Olympics, said he didn't want his name mentioned by media while asked to comment on Liu Xiang's 12.88 seconds run on Tuesday.

"If I have to say something, I would say 'congratulation to Liu Xiang'. That's it," he said.

Zhu Jianhua and Liu Xiang are both from Shanghai and before Liu won China's first ever men's athletics Olympic gold in 2004, Zhu had been the country's biggest name in track and field.

Liu, who equaled Briton Colin Jackson's world mark of 12.91 seconds in the 2004 Olympics, shattered the 13-year-old record in a super grand prix meeting in Lausanne on Tuesday.

Other Chinese track and field legends on Wednesday hailed Liu Xiang's success.

"I know this day will come, but I didn't expect it to come so early," said Zheng Fengrong, former world record holder in the women's high jump, referring to Liu's world record performance.

Zheng, the first Chinese to break an athletics world record as she cleared 177 centimeters in 1957, said Liu Xiang and his coach Sun Haiping have ushered in a new future for Chinese athletics.

"The success of Sun Haiping has proven Chinese do have unique methods for training," said Zheng. "Western methods may be advanced but might not be useful to Chinese athletes. Chinese athletics should draw upon the successes of Liu Xiang and women's middle and long distance runners in order to achieve more successes."

Zheng regretted missing the Olympic Games.

"I felt sorry that didn't have a chance to compete in the Olympics and I thank Liu Xiang for glorifying Chinese athletics," said Zheng.

The People's Republic of China made an Olympic debut in 1984.

Zou Zhenxian, who holds the 25-year-old Asian men's triple jump record of 17.34 meters, said Liu is a genius.

"Liu Xiang is a genius runner and Sun Haiping is a genius coach," he said. "Liu is a mentally strong and technically sound athlete and I hope he will do even better when Beijing hosts the 2008 Olympics."

Early Wednesday, Liu Xiang's parents said they had a sleepless night as the Olympic champion son slashed 0.03 seconds off the world record.

"We had been waiting for my son's call the whole night and the phone rang at four o'clock this morning," said the father Liu Xuegen. "American runner Allen Johnson congratulated Liu Xiang while he was in the middle of the call."

Senior Liu said Switzerland is Liu Xiang's lucky place since he broke the world youth record there in 2002.

"We were so excited that we couldn't sleep after the call," said Liu's mother Ji Fenhua.

Liu Xuegen said he didn't expect his son to return home for his July 13 birthday.

"He is too busy to come home," added senior Liu.

Source: Xinhua

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