By Huram Hung/Agencies, World-Track
SHANGHAI, China —
The return of Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang at next week’s Shanghai Golden Grand Prix after a yearlong injury is not to help the organisers sell tickets after Jamaican sprint champion Usain Bolt cancelled his trip because he was fatigued, his coach Sun Haiping said.
"I don’t think Liu is being forced to run because of Bolt’s absence," Haiping told China Youth Daily.
"There is no such so-called ‘saving the box office’. Liu has just recovered enough for competition."
The organisers announced the much anticipated return of Liu just 24 hours after Bolt contacted them with the news that he would pull the plug on another long, but remarkable season, which saw him breaking his 100m and 200m world records on his way to winning the sprint double at the Berlin world championships last month.
Liu’s appearance will be his first since he limped off the track during his 110m hurdles heats in the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing last year with an Achilles injury that prevented him from defending his Olympic crown.
The former Olympic champion, set a world record of 12.88 seconds for the event in 2005, but Cuba’s Dayron Robles lowered the mark to 12.87 last year.