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Liu Xiang's comeback will take place at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix this month

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BEIJING -- Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang will return to competition for the first time since hobbling out of the Beijing Olympics at next weekend's Shanghai Golden Grand Prix, organizers said Saturday.

The 26-year-old former Olympic and world 110-meter hurdles champion had an operation last December to repair the Achilles injury that ended his Olympic title defense. He returned to training in July.

"After communicating with the Chinese Athletic Association, the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix committee has officially announced that Liu Xiang will compete at the SHGGP this year," according to a statement on the official Web site.

The return of Liu in his home city is a huge boost to the organizers of the Sept. 20 meeting at Shanghai Stadium after Olympic and world champion sprinter Usain Bolt pulled out Friday, citing fatigue.


Despite his aborted title defense at last August's Beijing Olympics, Liu remains one of China's highest-profile sportsmen. Organizers warned the public against expecting too much from him.

"After careful inspection, the doctor has confirmed that Liu's foot injury has healed enough for him to compete in the race," according to the statement on the Web site. "It will take some time for him to return to top form [and] ... as a result, the committee has appealed to Liu's fans to give their encouragement but not focus too much on the final result."

Liu's Web site said he ran a time of 13.70 seconds against the wind on Thursday, well off the 12.88 he ran to claim the then-world record in 2006, but enough to convince him that he was ready to return.

"[The test run] was a practical exam of Liu's training and recovery, which has made him more confident to return to the track," China's athletics head coach Feng Shuyong was quoted as saying.

Liu was China's first men's Olympic gold medalist on the track when he raced to a surprise victory in Athens in 2004. He added the world record and world title to his collection during the next three years.

"Liu himself is keen to return to the track as early as possible and get back to his best form through competitions, in order to win glory for the country in the future international tournaments," Feng said.

Well, I hope he really is ready. Good luck to him!

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Tags: celeb: liu xiang, china, sports
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