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Thursday, April 11, 2013
Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang out for season

Associated Press

BRUSSELS -- Former Olympic hurdles champion Liu Xiang will miss the 2013 season because of his slow recovery from an Achilles injury.

Jos Hermens, the Chinese hurdler's manager, told The Associated Press on Thursday the recovery from the injury that forced Liu to pull out of the London Olympics "is proceeding slowly, only very slowly."

Liu became one of China's best-known athletes after he won the 110-meter hurdles title at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Since then, his right Achilles tendon has given him trouble. He pulled out of the 2008 Beijing Games and 2012 London Olympics.

"When we look at this year, there is no more chance for him to compete," Hermens said in a telephone interview.

At 29, Liu still could have some good years ahead if he remains healthy.

"He won't come back unless fully recovered," Hermens said.

For two straight Olympics, medal-favorite Liu got to the opening heats of his race only to drop out because of the Achilles injury.

After he ruptured his Achilles at the London Games, he had surgery in England and traveled to the United States. Despite needing several months of rehabilitation, most observers thought Liu would return for the world championships Aug. 10-18 in Moscow.

However, Achilles injuries are difficult to heal and many sprinters never return to their previous best. Hermens said the Chinese officials would make sure he takes the time to recover.

"They are playing it safe," Hermens said. "They are very careful not to take any risk."

Without Liu, the Chinese are hoping for a breakthrough season from Xie Wenjun. He had a good winter season, including a third-place finish in the 60 hurdles at the Athletics Grand Prix in Birmingham, England.

Xie will face Olympic champion and world-record holder Aries Merritt at the Shanghai Diamond League meet next month.