Liu Xiang wins 60-meter hurdles
BIRMINGHAM, England -- Liu Xiang beat Dayron Robles in a resumption of their hurdling rivalry before the London Olympics, and Lerone Clarke upstaged Jamaican rival Asafa Powell in the 60-meter sprint at the Birmingham Grand Prix on Saturday.
Liu ran a flawless 60-meter hurdles final in 7.41 seconds, with the Chinese star almost a tenth of a second ahead of world record-holder Robles in their first meeting since at last year's world championships.
"I am especially happy to get a national as well as Asian record," Liu said. "I still feel though that over the first two hurdles I didn't do very well and that there is work to be done there. I am excited about the rest of the year now."
In South Korea in August, Robles finished first over 110 meters but was disqualified for impeding Liu, who ended up winning a silver medal after being on course for gold. Now they are gearing up for the Olympic showdown that was denied in 2008 when Liu limped off the starting line in Beijing and Robles took his Olympic title.
"The main task is to keep healthy and try to get in step before the Olympics," Liu said.
Jamaica will be based in Birmingham before the Olympics, and Clarke led a Jamaican 1-2-3 sweep in the central English city by winning in 6.47 seconds.
"I knew that all I had to do was get out of the blocks and drive hard," Clarke said. "Get up and run home and it didn't matter who was out front, just focus on me."
Powell finished third in his return to indoor competition after an eight-year absence. Nesta Carter was second.
"Asafa Powell, Nesta Carter, they're all fast guys and to come here and win," Clarke said. "It's fantastic. I've never been to an Olympics so it would be a great addition to my career if I can do that now."
In the women's 60 meters, former world long jump champion Tianna Madison won in 7.07 seconds, with the American finishing 0.07 seconds ahead of Bulgaria's Ivet Lalova.
The home crowd was disappointed when world 5,000-meter champion Mo Farah was beaten over 2 miles by Eliud Kipchoge, finishing 0.68 seconds behind the Kenyan in second place.
"When I saw five or six laps to go my legs just felt heavy, I just didn't have that change of gear as they came past me," he said. "It's not any injury, it's nothing. I can't exactly explain."
There were seven British victories, led by Jessica Ennis running the fastest time this year (7.87 seconds) in the 60 hurdles. The other winners were: Holly Bleasdale (pole vault), J.J. Jegede and Shara Proctor (long jump), Robbie Grabarz (high jump) and Shana Cox and Nigel Levine (400).
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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