Giant on the move
Liu Xiang injury breaks China hearts
Liu Xiang’s quest to win a home Olympic gold ended before it had begun on Monday, as an injury prevented the 110 metre hurdler from starting his first heat.
China’s world and Olympic champion, the host nation’s best hope of an athletics gold medal at the Beijing Games, pulled up after a false start and walked off the track, stunning the huge crowd at the Bird’s Nest stadium into silence.
Liu’s preparations for the Olympics were hindered by a hamstring injury, and later an Achilles problem. It appeared to be a recurrence of the former injury on Monday as he grimaced in pain after leaving the blocks.
Along with basketball player Yao Ming, Liu is China’s favourite sportsman and there was a huge weight of expectation on him going into his home Games.
PHOTO: China’s Olympic champion Liu Xiang walks away after failing to start his 110 metres hurdles first-round heat at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, August 18, 2008. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn