Monday, November 22, 2010

China relief as Liu clears his first hurdle at the Asian Games

Main Image
Main Image
Main Image
China's Liu Xiang runs to win his men's 110m hurdles heat at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China, November 22, 2010.
Credit: Reuters/Michael Dalder
GUANGZHOU, China | Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:30pm EST
GUANGZHOU, China (Reuters) - Liu Xiang cleared the first hurdle on the road to defending his Asian Games title on Monday while local fans roared the hosts on to three track and field titles on the second night of athletics in Guangzhou.
China celebrated their first men's 100 champion in Lao Yi and applauded Liu, who has had little to celebrate since he limped out of the 2008 Olympics in a premature end to the defense of his 110 meters hurdles title.
He has been plagued subsequently by injuries and poor form but the 27-year-old remains hugely popular at home and expectations have grown in Guangzhou.
Greeted with thunderous cheers at Aoti Main Stadium, Liu repaid the faith by qualifying first for the final on Wednesday.
"I'm here to enjoy the atmosphere," said Liu, who warmed up in a black shirt emblazoned with "Hidden Strength" in Chinese characters and waggled his finger in front of trackside cameras.
"I expect to run in 13.20 (in the final). I'll try my best."
Liu, who has a personal best of 12.88 seconds, clocked 13.48. He will need to hold off the next fastest contender Park Tae-kyong of South Korea and Saudi Arabia's Ahmed Khader Almuwallad in the final. Compatriot and longtime rival Shi Dongpeng failed to fire in his heat but also remains a threat.
Liu's glittering cameo glossed over a disappointing day for some of the Games' other marquee names.
One of the competition's biggest drawcards, 1,500 meters world champion Yusuf Saad Kamel of Bahrain, crashed out of qualifying and blamed team officials for making him run with a painful knee injury.
"I'm not upset about my failure, but about their pushing me to run. I know that I can't achieve anything," said Kenya-born Kamel, who switched nationality in 2003.
Qatar's Samuel Francis, a former Nigerian who holds the men's Asian record of 9.99 seconds, held his head in his hands after being disqualified for a false start in his heat.
That opened the door for Lao to win the men's 100 and the stocky 25-year-old draped himself in a national flag after burning home in 10.24 seconds. The hosts also celebrated titles in the men's pole vault and the women's hammer throw.
China's imperious diving team swept both the men's synchronized 10 meters platform and the women's synchronized 3 meters springboard.
Fencing and trampoline golds edged the hosts closer to their goal of 166 golds, one more than their haul at Doha and well within reach of their record 183 at the 1990 Beijing Games.

Digg Google Bookmarks reddit Mixx StumbleUpon Technorati Yahoo! Buzz DesignFloat Delicious BlinkList Furl

0 comments: on "China relief as Liu clears his first hurdle at the Asian Games"

Post a Comment