By Huram Hung and Gary Smith, World-Track
Several stars from the Berlin World Championships closed out a very fine 2009 season with solid performances at the Shanghai IAAF Golden Grand Prix on Sunday, a day when Liu made his return to competition after being sidelined with a yearlong injury.
Liu, who was running for the first time since limping out of the Bird’s Nest with a hamstring injury at the Olympics in Beijing last summer, showed glimpsing signs that he could return to the world beater form of previous time with a 13.15seconds run for second place in the men’s 110m hurdles.
He only finished behind Terrence Trammell after a photo-finish which gave the American the nod, as both hurdlers ran the same time.
"His result is beyond our expectations," Liu’s coach Sun Haiping told reporters after the race.
Brigitte Foster-Hylton stayed unbeaten since her world championships gold medal run after she just edged out American Dawn Harper to take the women’s 100m hurdles.
Both Foster-Hylton and Harper were credited with the same time of 12.56secs, but the Jamaican got the win in the photo-finish. Former world champion Perdita Felicien of Canada took third in 12.73.
The women’s 400m hurdles saw Jamaican star Melaine Walker, the champion from the Beijing Olympics and Berlin world gold medal winner, taking first place in the race in a time of 54.68secs.
Romanian Angela Morosanu was second in 55.11 and Poland’s Anna Jesien, third with 55.29. Trinidadian young star Josanne Lucas (55.31) was fourth.
LaShawn Merritt closed off a fine season with a solid run to win the men’s 400m dash and he now prepares for a well deserved six weeks rest before pre-season.
The American who won gold at the Beijing Olympics last summer and then repeated that performance at the World Championships in Berlin last month, clocked 45.28 to seal the win.
Finishing behind Merritt, who ended his season unbeaten, were Great Britain’s Robert Tobin (45.49) and Congo’s American record holder Gary Kikaya (45.63).
The women’s 400m went to Jamaican’s Shericka Williams, who leaned-out countrywoman Novlene Williams-Mills.
Williams posted 49.83secs for first place with Williams-Mills stopping the clock at 49.85. The pair had separated themselves from the trailing pack at the top of the home straight to finish with a grueling battle.
American World and Olympic champion Allyson Felix won the women’s 200 metres with a time of 22.37secs. Cayman Islands’ Cydonie Mothersill was second in a season best of 22.45, with Bahamian World bronze medallist Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie taking third also in 22.45.
World bronze medal winner Wallace Spearmon finished on top in the men’s race with an easy 20.57secs run to beat St Kitts and Nevis’ Kim Collins, who trailed home at a distant second with 20.90 and Shawn Crawford, third.
Tyson Gay lowered his own American record to 9.69seconds (+2.0m/s) on his way to destroying a solid field to win the men’s 100 metres over Asafa Powell (9.85) and Darvis Patton (9.89).
On the women’s side, United States’ Carmelita Jeter showed true class to turn in the second fastest time ever when winning the dash in a fabulous 10.64 seconds.
Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown kicked late to finish with a seasonal best of 10.89secs, for second with Bahamian Chandra Sturrup taking third in 11.03.
Elsewhere, Dwight Phillips won the men’s Long Jump with a mark of 8.36m, Andre Manson took the High Jump with a clearance of 2.27 and Russian Pole Vault star Yelena Isinbayeva easily took that event with a 4.85m clearance.