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Chinese athletics superstar Liu upbeat with Olympics looming ahead

(Xinhua)

11:00, April 19, 2012

SHANGHAI, April 18 (Xinhua) -- With the London Olympics just 100 days out, Chinese star hurdler Liu Xiang will focus on his own prep work en route to the world event.

"My opponents all have a shot at the gold in the London Olympics, but I never look at them as my threat," said Liu. "I will learn my lesson from each of the events I've competed and try to get better and better, so I think the biggest opponent will be myself."

The 28-year-old Liu, who was a shock gold medallist in the high hurdles at the 2004 Athens Games and remains history's second fastest man in the event, has just got a silver medal at the IAAF World Indoor Championships earlier last month. With the outdoor season drawing near, he did not seem pressured.

"The indoor events are a good experience for me. I've just started my outdoor training recently. I think my first outdoor event will be in Japan in May, followed by the IAAF Diamond League Shanghai Stop. And after that I will attend some events in Europe and the U.S," he said.

"My opponents all have what it takes to win a title, but I have my own edge in the sport. It depends on your final performance to win a title," he added.

Liu has cut to seven from eight the number of strides he takes before the first hurdle, and this change worked in a mixed way in the indoor season as he set a new Asian record of 7.41 seconds in Birmingham, England in February but followed that up with a false start disqualification in his next race in Stockholm.

His coach Sun Haiping also ranked his step change a "new challenge".

"The change can make you faster in the first five hurdles, but at the same time you have to keep pushing in the latter stage, it's really a challenge. I don't think many runners can do this in history," said Sun.

"Liu is working very hard towards the London Games. His opponents are all strong so he must run under 13 seconds to make the podium and 12.90 might be enough for him to take the title," Sun added.

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