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Liu Xiang expects to return in 2015

Liu Xiang

China’s Liu Xiang, the 2004 Olympic 110m hurdles champion, hopes to return to competition in one year, his coach said.

Liu hasn’t competed since an Achilles injury derailed him for a second straight Olympics at London 2012. He underwent surgery after the Games and has resumed training without spikes, because they put more pressure on his injured foot, his coach said.

“As an ordinary person Liu has already recovered,” his coach, Sun Haiping, said Saturday, according to Xinhua News Agency. “But as a hurdler he still has a long way to go before competing in any event.”

Liu has extra incentive to compete next season because the 2015 World Championships are in Beijing’s Olympic Stadium. He was one of China’s most famous athletes going into the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and his injury and subsequent inability to defend his 110m hurdles gold medal brought fans at the Bird’s Nest to tears six years ago.

Liu, 30, once held the 110m hurdles world record at 12.88 seconds. It has since been broken by the last two Olympic champions, Dayron Robles (12.87) and Aries Merritt (12.80).

“It is not an easy task for an athlete at his age to come out of injury and return to his peak form,” Liu’s coach told Xinhua. “But Liu wants to give it a try. If he can managed to run under 13.20 seconds, he will still be a serious contender in any event.”

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