China's Liu Xiang out for season, says coach

Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang is likely to miss this season as he recovers from the injury which dramatically ended his bid to win back the Olympic title in London last year, a report said on Wednesday.

Liu's coach Sun Haiping said the 29-year-old, Olympic champion over 110m in 2004 and one of China's biggest stars, would make a "full recovery" from his ruptured Achilles tendon, but would probably not be in action this year.

"We expect a full recovery, but he cannot take part in any training now, and therefore he will probably miss all meets this year," said Sun, according to the China Daily.

The announcement confirms that Liu, who is undergoing treatment in the United States, will miss next month's Diamond League meeting in Shanghai, an event he has headlined in recent years.

Last year in London, Liu clattered into the first hurdle in his opening heat and after being helped up, he hopped the length of the track before symbolically kissing the last barrier and exiting the Olympic arena.

The incident was strongly reminiscent of 2008, when Liu, the defending champion, also limped out of his first heat at the Beijing Olympics, shocking his home fans and reducing a TV announcer to tears.

In August, Liu was forced to deny an alleged cover-up in London after reports said state network CCTV knew about his injury but was barred from revealing it by China's propaganda department.

According to media reports quoted by Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, CCTV broadcaster Yang Jian, who wept live on air in a repeat of 2008, had prepared scripts in advance.

Liu shot to stardom at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, when he became China's first male track and field gold medallist. He has already ruled out competing at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

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