Liu Xiang seizes limelight with hat-trick at Asian championships

08:27, November 13, 2009      

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Athens Olympic champion Liu Xiang achieved a feat of hat-trick in his specialty of 110m hurdles at the Asian Athletics Championships after clocking a 13. 50 seconds victory in Guangzhou on Thursday.

Liu Xiang competes during the men's 110m Hurdles at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix athletics September 20, 2009. (Agencies)

The comfortable victory's result seems not so heartbreaking, but it's his build-up from injury inflicted during Beijing Olympics last year. Liu is igniting the passions of the home crowd not for just an Asian tournament victory but a recovery for world stage, which seemed to go dismay after last year's sudden skid.

Liu, who has just been back on track after last month's triumph in China's national games in 13.34 seconds, exploded out of the starting blocks and hit the finish line first with ease in 13.50 seconds amid heavy rain.

The result was good enough for the 2007 world champion to win the title, but far off his former world record and personal best of 12.88 seconds.

"I felt so good to race in the rain," the 26-year-old said. " Now I want to refresh myself with a warm bath."

"I am in quite good form," said the nicknamed "flying man", who won the event in straight three times.

"I wanted to give my utmost to spurt today in the first place and see how fast I can run. But the weather was so bad, and the safety was the most important thing for now. I have to pursue victory safely."

The race for him was not a big challenge. "I am satisfied with the result," said Liu. "It's my third Asian championships and I was very relaxed in the race. My aim is to be the winner in order to qualify for the World Cup next year."

"The rhythm of the event was much slower than the world championships, and I enjoyed the race very much," added Liu.

Liu's national teammate Shi Dongpeng trailed him to take the silver in 13.67, Park Tae-kyong of South Korea stood third in 13. 82.

Liu trotted around the stadium after crossing the line, waving the country's flag to spectators with Shi, attracting thunderous cheers and applause from the home crowd.

Liu then took off his jersey and threw it to the screaming fans.

"It's just an ordinary race to me, but the spectators made it a little unordinary. I was affected by their passion," said he.

Liu is the first Chinese man to win a track and field Olympic gold medal after historically claiming the hurdling title at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and once shattered the world record when he clocked 12.88 seconds at an IAAF meet in Lausanne in 2006.

"It is my first race representing China to win since my comeback, and I am very excited about that."

The hurdling star withdrew from the Beijing Olympic Games due to injuries. He suffered from a recurrence of chronic inflammation in his right Achilles tendon, which ruled him out of the following year's major competitions.

After 13 months, the Asian star made a steady comeback at Shanghai Golden Grand Prix in September, 2009, and clinched a sliver. He won the Chinese national championships in October. 26.

"There's no major international competitions left this year," he said. "The East Asian Games in December is not a fierce one. I will do my best in winter training. I am no longer a young athlete now, and I must cherish my time."

"I will focus on next year's competitions and check my true level."

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