Sports News

Liu could return at Shanghai meeting: organizers

China's Liu Xiang clears a hurdle at a training base in Shanghai June 30, 2009. REUTERS/Aly Song

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s highest profile athlete Liu Xiang could still make his return to competition at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix in his home city later this month, organizers said Wednesday.

The 26-year-old former 110 meters hurdles world and Olympic champion has not raced since hobbling out of his first heat at the Beijing Olympics last August but returned to training in spikes in July.

“We are still waiting for his coach’s decision,” Xu Lin of Waggener Edstrom public relations said by telephone on Wednesday. “Even if he cannot run he will attend other promotional events and watch the competition.”

Triple Olympic and world champion sprinter Usain Bolt has already been confirmed in a strong field for the September 20 meeting, which will also feature Veronica Campbell-Brown in the 200 meters and Yelena Isinbayeva in the pole vault.

Liu’s return at the 56,000-seater Shanghai Stadium would upstage even Bolt, but his participation must remain a doubt as his coach Sun Haiping said he was targeting next month’s Chinese National Games as a warm-up for November’s Asian championships.

“We have finalized the list of foreign participants but not the Chinese athletes because we do not know whether Liu Xiang can compete,” Xu added. “We can only confirm it (next week).”

If Liu does run, he would be up against familiar faces in Americans Terrence Trammell, runner up behind the Chinese at the 2004 Athens Olympics and 2007 world championships, and David Oliver, who won bronze in Beijing last year.

Reporting by Liu Zhen and Nick Mulvenney; Editing by John O’Brien