Former Olympic champion Xing Huina withdraws from National Games

17:48, October 21, 2009      

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Xing Huina, who won the women's 10,000 meters champion at the Athens Olympic Games, pulled out of the 11th National Games due to a nagging injury, a team official of Shandong delegation said on Wednesday.

Xing has been plagued with injuries after surprising all to win the gold medal in Athens. She has been treated in the United States but that is not enough for her to get fit, said Wu Yong, director of the Shandong Provincial Athletics Center.

"Xing is not fit enough to defend her 5,000 and 10,000 champion at the National Games," Wu said. "A persistent leg muscle injury has been affecting her training. The injury is even more serious than Liu Xiang's."

Liu, who won the Athens Olympic hurdles champion on the same day as Xing, just returned to competition in September in the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix after a surgery on his right Achilles tendon in the United States last December.

Xing failed to qualify for last year's Beijing Olympics while Liu pulled out in the semifinals at the Bird's Nest stadium, shocking the whole country.

"After checking her injury, the team decided to take Xing's name off the start list," Wu said. "Her career depends on how she could recover from the injuries. We are not sure when she can return to the track."

Xing, who runs with a distinctive shuffling gait, surprised even herself by sprinting past Ethiopians Ejegayehu Dibaba and Derartu Tulu down the home straight to win the 10,000 meters in Athens.

After missing the 1997 world championships in Osaka, Xing moved to the U.S. to train with Bernard Lagat's Chinese-born coach James Li.

Xing lost her former coach Wang Dexian when he was banned for life after another of his charges, Sun Yingjie, failed a drugs test in the last National Games four years ago.

She was expected to run at her home province Shandong in this National Games. But her withdrawal prompted speculations that her career is actually over.

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