Sunday, 21 August 2011

Daegu 110m Hurdles Profiles. Profile 4: Liu Xiang

Xiang and Oliver....East vs West.

Liu Xiang (CHN), born 13/07/1983. (PB 12.88, SB 13.00)

2004 Olympic Champion

    China’s golden boy: the face of the 2008 Olympic Games until he unfortunately suffered an achilles injury and pulled out on the start line. Xiang was the Olympic Champion at 21 in Athens, equalling Colin Jackson’s 1993 World Record of 12.91 in the process. He topped this off with the World Record in 2006 in Lausanne, setting 12.88, and winning World Championship Gold in 2007 in Osaka in 12.95. He has won the World Indoor Championships, the Asian Games, the World Silver and Bronzes in 2005 and 2003. Xiang is the most competitive athlete in the world by a long shot. No one expected him to come back from injury in 2008, but in 2009 he ran 13.15, 2010 he ran 13.09 and this year he has run 13.00. These are serious times, and no doubt all the athletes going to Daegu will be wondering about his form as he has only raced a couple of times this year.

World Record in 2006 in Lausanne

    He has beaten David Oliver on Asian soil this year in his first race of the year, beating Oliver's year-long unbeaten streak, though Oliver exacted revenge in Eugene not long after. His ability to step up to plate, under the greatest pressure, is his main asset. He is potentially the most talented hurdler ever, having fluid technique and extremely good top speed, which will help enormously at the end of the race where the medals will be decided. He has a left leg lead like Robles, though differs to him in style. Xiang is very slight, unlike Robles and Oliver who are very large, strong physical athletes. However, this hasn’t stopped him from also adopting the 7-stride pattern as of this season. He is a championship performer and is from Asia. No doubt, once the Koreans fill the stadium and see Xiang, the only real Asian hurdler with the ability to make the final this year, they will get behind him. The other athletes know this will probably know that this will happen, and know the positive effect pressure has on Xiang. He won in Japan in 2007 at the last Worlds he was at, from lane 8. He has the potential this year to win, and to maybe take back his world record. He has said he will be able to run 12.9 or quicker this year so keep an eye on this man, a bet on him winning wouldn't go amiss.

Xiang and Robles, the past two Olympic Champions and World Record holders will come to a decisive head to head in Daegu.

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