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Don't expect to see Liu back on track in 2013

By Wang Zhenghua (China Daily)

10:17, April 10, 2013

China's star hurdler, Liu Xiang, is likely to be out of action for the entire 2013 track and field season, and organizers of this year's Shanghai Diamond League meet are worried.

Sun Haiping, the long-time coach of 30-year-old Liu, said on Tuesday the sprinter won't be back in China until he has fully recovered from the right Achilles tendon injury he sustained at the 2012 London Olympics. He has been receiving treatment in the United States.

His recovery will be a slow process, Sun said on the sidelines of a media conference on Tuesday. "We expect a full recovery, but he cannot take part in any training now, and therefore he will probably miss all meets this year."

Hopefully, he can return to the track next year, the coach said.

The absence of Liu, almost a fixture at the Shanghai meet over the past few years, could adversely affect this year's event.

Gu Shuhang, general manager of the league's operating company, said Liu's non-appearance would have a negative impact on the event's attractiveness and hurt ticket sales and the wooing of sponsors.

"We understand the audience expects him, and the meet would be very appealing to fans if he participated in it," she said.

But Liu, a Shanghai native, is not the event's only draw, though he has hogged the limelight at past meets, she said.

"His absence is not a fresh topic," said Gu, adding the public and media will have to get used to the fact that Liu will retire one day.

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