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Liu Xiang, Robles set for Birmingham showdown


15:52, February 10, 2012

Liu Xiang (C) of China competes with Dayron Robles of Cuba (R) during the men's 110 metres hurdles final at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, August 29, 2011. (Xinhua File Photo/Liao Yujie)

LONDON, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Reigning Olympic champion and world record holder Dayron Robles will go head-to-head with reigning world indoor champion Liu Xiang of China in a blockbuster 60m hurdles race at the Aviva Grand Prix next Saturday.

It will be the pair's first meeting since the world championships in Daegu last summer, where Liu took silver after Robles was dramatically disqualified for disrupting Liu despite finishing the race in first place.

The pair, who between them have amassed a staggering 11 major event titles and are considered the all-time greats of sprint hurdles, will join an all-star cast including Asafa Powell, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah in what is expected to be a colossal afternoon at Birmingham's National Indoor Arena.

It will also be Liu's first competition in the NIA since he won bronze in the world indoor championships in 2003 at age of 19.

Robles, who set the world record of 12.87 seconds in Ostrava in 2008, won five times in his 12 previous races against Liu. But the 25-year-old Cuban is determined to level the record by the end of March as he will race alongside Liu first in Birmingham and then in Istanbul, where he hopes to usurp the latter as the world indoor champion.

"I feel in really good shape. I haven't competed this year yet so I'm looking forward to getting back on the track," said Robles.

"I will have probably had one race before the Aviva Grand Prix which will give me more of an idea on my form but Birmingham is due to have a good field so it'll be good for me."


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