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2008 Olympic Games Beijing - Men's 110 m hurdles

 

 

Host City: Beijing, China Format: Top four in each heat advanced to the final.
Date Started: August 18, 2008 Format: Top three in each heat and next four fastest advanced to the semi-finals
Date Finished: August 21, 2008 Format: Top four in each heat and next eight fastest advanced to the quarter-finals
(Competitors: 42; Countries: 32; Finalists: 8)  
    Venue(s): Beijing National Stadium, Beijing
Overview by IAAF   2008_olympic_stadium.jpg 
The favourite was Robles, who in June had lowered the world record to 12.87. Reigning champion Liu Xiang and 12.95 performer Oliver were regarded as the most likely to beat the Cuban. The last two heats were dramatic as first Terrence Trammell – silver medallist in Atlanta and Athens – pulled out injured after one hurdle. Then in the final heat, Liu appeared incomfortable as he practised his starts. He was clearly nursing a foot injury, but settled down to race. After the first start there was a recall and after that point Liu withdrew, shocking the 91,000 crowd. His coach later appeared in tears on Chinese television which also showed behind-the-scenes coverage of Liu before the heat when he could be seen kicking a wall in frustration. Oliver (13.30) was the fastest in the first round, and the next day ran 13.16 in the last quarter-final, after Payne (13.24), Robles (13.19) and Wignall (13.36) had won the other heats. Robles looked very easy winning his semi-final in 13.13, ahead of Payne (13.21) and a resurging Doucouré (13.22), while Oliver won the other semi in 13.31 ahead of Poland’s rising star Noga (13.34). Robles had the winning of the final by the time he reached the first hurdle, taking just seven strides compared with eight by all the other finalists. He flowed majestically away from the field barely touching two of the hurdles, and won by 2½ metres. Payne was second from start to finish, and just held off the charge of Oliver.
       
Summary by Sports-reference.com      
At the beginning of 2008, the favorite was the defending gold medalist, China’s Liu Xiang. He had set the world record since 2004 and also won the 2007 World Championships. Liu’s event was highly anticipated by the Chinese, and prior to the Olympics, tickets for the 110 hurdles final were the most coveted in China. But early in 2008, Cuba’s Dayron Robles moved to the fore and had the best record of the year going into Beijing, including a world record of 12.87, set on 12 June in Ostrava, and breaking Liu’s mark. There were rumors that Liu was injured but information did not come out of the secretive Chinese camp, as Liu, with basketballer Yao Ming, was the most popular athlete in China. In heat six of the first round, Liu lined up for the start and started at the gun, only to have a recall for the field false starting. He ran only a few steps but was in obvious discomfort. He turned towards the starting blocks, but kept going out the tunnel and withdrew with an injured foot tendon. The Chinese anguish in the stands was palpable. His withdrawal left the way open for Robles who won easily. In the final, he led at the first hurdle and pulled away to by 0.24 seconds. American’s David Payne and David Oliver came in for the other medals but never challenged Robles.
 

Records

Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows:

World record Cuba Dayron Robles (CUB) 12.87 s Ostrava, Czech Republic 12 June 2008
Olympic record  Liu Xiang (CHN) 12.91 s Athens, Greece 27 August 2004

No new world or Olympic records were set for this event.

Qualification

Each National Olympic Committee (NOC) was able to enter up to three entrants providing they had met the A qualifying standard (13.55) in the qualifying period (1 January 2007 to 23 July 2008). NOCs were also permitted to enter one athlete providing he had met the B standard (13.72) in the same qualifying period.

 
        Results        

The Men's 110 metres hurdles at the 2008 Summer Olympics took place on 18–21 August at the Beijing National Stadium.

Dayron Robles was the clear favorite, having set the world record just two months earlier. He didn't disappoint leading the semi-final round by almost a tenth of a second, a huge margin on this level.

In the final, Robles was out first, clearly ahead by the first hurdle. From there all he did was run smoothly and pull away to a clear, dominating victory. The race for second place was almost as dominant, the two Americans, David Payne and David Oliver were clearly separating from the others, Payne slightly ahead of Oliver, with only Ladji Doucouré within a stride of Oliver. Doucouré looked to be faster, mainly because of less refined form, but on the final dash to the finish line was clearly gaining on Oliver, who himself was gaining on Payne to make the finish much closer. Robles more than doubled his margin from the semi-final round, almost a quarter of a second ahead of Payne.

Men's 110m Hurdles - FINAL

After all the drama and all the upsets that were witnessed in the magnificent arena of the Beijing Olympic stadium, latest of which were the two US sprint relays being disqualified for dropping the stick in the first round heats, it is possible that many would have refrained from putting their money on World record holder Dayron Robles winning the 110m Hurdles Olympic title.

Well they should have done because the 21-year-old Cuban proved the safest bet of all at these Olympic Games – after Usain Bolt of course!

Robles came into his first Olympic Games as the owner of the two fastest times in the history of the event, a score of 7 out of 8 victories outdoors and 7 out of 9 wins indoors including the second fastest of all-time at 60m Hurdles.

Yet the only titles he could boast were those won at the 2006 CAC Championships and 2007 Pan American Games.

Clearly for Robles tonight was all about winning.

There wasn’t an ounce of a doubt that he would be the man to beat as right from the gun he blasted out of the blocks faster than any other finalist to take a clear lead. His style was fluent, his speed superior, his confidence boosted. All he had to do was master each of the ten barriers which separated him from the line.

Robles did master the race but didn’t look as smooth as when he set a 12.87 World record in Ostrava last 12 June. He looked more controlled and determined not to let any incident step in his way towards Olympic glory. As he crossed the line in 12.93 without even attempting to sprint or dive, he left the audience with a little taste of wonder at what could have been.

When he looked at the clock, he shook his head so as to say ‘not the best time, not good enough’ but soon his expression changed as he realised the magnitude of his achievement. Finally, he had won a major championships title.

“It was very fast and calm,” he explained. “I was confident about how things would go. I feel very good because I am the Olympic champion. It’s always been my dream.”

Robles confirmed everyone’s impressions when saying:  “I am satisfied with the time because I wasn’t running after the clock. All I wanted to do was secure the title. I didn’t force, I didn’t need to chase an exceptional time."

“I am a hurdler and just like all other hurdlers I know that our event is one of the hardest. We develop incredible speed and the hurdles come at you very fast. If you don’t know how to react to those hurdles coming fast at you, you’re down on the floor in one moment.”

There would be no repeat of the women’s final tonight, the leader would not tumble.

Running in lane 6 in tonight’s final, Robles was flanked by each of the two ‘David's’ who made it to the final, Payne on the inside and Oliver on the outside.

Oliver lost his own race for gold as early as the first hurdle as he took arguably one of the worst starts of the field. Or maybe was that just an impression, given the speed which Robles produced coming out of the blocks?

Payne was more in contention as he set off to a better start. However, the 26-year-old bronze medallist from Osaka made too many mistakes touching all but the first obstacle. However, reminiscent of a certain Allen Johnson, Olympic champion 12 years ago, hitting the hurdles didn’t affect his speed that much.

Finishing strong, Oliver gave it all his heart to try and grab silver but had to settle for third by just one hundredth of a second, as Payne held on the challenge in a season’s best 13.17.

French record holder Ladji Doucouré, whose girlfriend watching from the stands is a beauty queen, did well to finish in fourth in a season which saw him defying all odds just to make it to Beijing.

It was an amazing race in line with the rest of the Athletics competitions at these Olympic Games, however one can only regret and ask what would have been had Liu Xiang been able to compete at his best.

“Liu Xiang is a great competitor,” Robles said. “When he’s there, you can feel his presence. When he’s on the track there’s always a good time at the end of the race. We athletes never wish an injury upon others, all I can say is I salute him and I hope he’ll get back soon.”

Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF
110 m hurdles Men     Final 21 August      
                 
Rank Mark Wind   Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 12.93 0,1   Dayron Robles Cuba CUB 19 Nov 86  
2 13.17 0,1   David Payne United States USA 24 Jul 82  
3 13.18 0,1   David Oliver United States USA 24 Apr 82  
4 13.24 0,1   Ladji Doucouré France FRA 28 Mar 83  
5 13.36 0,1   Artur Noga Poland POL 2 May 88  
6 13.46 0,1   Maurice Wignall Jamaica JAM 17 Apr 76  
7 13.60 0,1   Richard Phillips Jamaica JAM 26 Jan 83  
8 13.69 0,1   Jackson Quiñónez Spain ESP 12 Jun 80  

Men's 110m Hurdles - Semi-Finals

At just 21 years of age, Dayron Robles has achieved more than any other man in the history of the 110m Hurdles, in terms of performance that is.

In terms of medals he still has a long way to go.

After his 13.12 semi final win tonight in Beijing, Robles looks set to write the first page of what could be a long list of major championships achievements. His ease this evening was quite impressive and certainly must have helped building up his confidence. Something the Cuban World record holder needs heading into tomorrow’s final. Famously, he failed to win a medal at the last IAAF World Championships both indoors and outdoors.

The only athlete to open with six strides (instead of seven) from the blocks to the first hurdle, Robles had a clear lead as early as the first flight. All he had to do was maintain his foot speed and stay clear of the remaining nine barriers. Tonight, it was no problem for Robles.

David Payne, who beat Robles for bronze in Osaka last year, surged past 2005 World champion Ladji Doucouré in the run in to claim second in 13.21. However it was the French record holder who made the biggest impression, his 13.22 an improvement of 11 hundredths of a second on his season’s best time.

Doucouré had to cut his indoor season short and delay his summer training after suffering a hamstring injury but seems to have recovered in time. The 25-year-old had made an impressive breakthrough on the world scene at the Athens Olympic Games when he was safely in silver medal position before hitting the last hurdle and fading to eighth. Certainly, he will aim at a cleaner race and a spot on the podium at what will be his second consecutive Olympic final.

Jamaican champion Richard Phillips took the last qualifying spot in fourth at 13.43.

The second semi-final was a much closer race as US champion David Oliver failed to stamp his authority on the field. Yes he did win in 13.31 but his effort wasn’t fluid and he seemed to have worked hard to come across the finish in first.

Former World Junior champion Artur Noga of Poland was a convincing second in a personal best 13.34 as on the outside three men fought for the last two qualifying spots.

In 7, former World indoor medallist Maurice Wignall, in 8 Shi Dongpeng, a finalist at the 2003 World championships and in 9 Spanish record holder Jackson Quinonez were even going over the final barrier. The run in would determine the qualifiers.

No doubt who the crowd’s favourite was.

Unfortunately the huge roar of the 91,000 full house did not help Shi as he was given fifth place in 13.42, just two hundredths of a second off Quinonez in third and Wignall in fourth.

Much to his regret, his time was faster than fourth placer Phillips in heat 1.

With the demise of Liu Xiang and Terrence Trammell in the first round, the much awaited confrontation between the defending Olympic champion, the defending silver medallist and the World record holder will not materialize.

Yet Robles will undoubtedly offer the crowd the show of their life in tomorrow’s final his major opponents being each of the ten barriers which will be placed in lane6, the one he has been drawn in? 

As expected the US pair of Oliver and Payne will offer a great challenge from lanes 5 and 7 but keep an eye on lane 8 too as Doucouré could well surprise a few.

Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF

110 m hurdles Men     Semifinal 1 20 August      
                 
Rank Mark Wind   Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 13.12 -0,4 Q Dayron Robles Cuba CUB 19 Nov 86  
2 13.21 -0,4 Q David Payne United States USA 24 Jul 82  
3 13.22 -0,4 Q Ladji Doucouré France FRA 28 Mar 83  
4 13.43 -0,4 Q Richard Phillips Jamaica JAM 26 Jan 83  
5 13.55 -0,4   Konstadínos Douvalídis Greece GRE 10 Mar 87  
6 13.60 -0,4   Gregory Sedoc Netherlands NED 16 Oct 81  
7 13.60 -0,4   Petr Svoboda Czech Republic CZE 10 Oct 84  
8 13.85 -0,4   Paulo Villar Colombia COL 28 Jul 78  
110 m hurdles Men     Semifinal 2 20 August      
                 
Rank Mark Wind   Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 13.31 -0,4 Q David Oliver United States USA 24 Apr 82  
2 13.34 -0,4 Q Artur Noga Poland POL 2 May 88  
3 13.40 -0,4 Q Jackson Quiñónez Spain ESP 12 Jun 80  
4 13.40 -0,4 Q Maurice Wignall Jamaica JAM 17 Apr 76  
5 13.42 -0,4   Shi Dongpeng China CHN 6 Jan 84  
6 13.45 -0,4   Marcel van der Westen Netherlands NED 1 Aug 76  
7 13.59 -0,4   Ryan Brathwaite Barbados BAR 6 Jun 88  
8 13.65 -0,4   Samuel Coco-Viloin France FRA 19 Oct 87  

Men's 110m Hurdles - Quarter-finals

After the men’s 110m Hurdles first round provided arguably the biggest upset in Olympic history when defending Olympic champion Liu Xiang withdrew through injury, there were no other major casualties in tonight’s quarter finals.

Most impressive of all was, as expected, World record holder Dayron Robles. Like Usain Bolt in the 100m and 200m, the Cuban seems to be in a class of his own, almost super human.

In the second of four races tonight, Robles literally jogged to a 13.19 heat win some 27 hundredths of a second over runner up Artur Noga of Poland. But Noga, himself a World junior champion here in Beijing 2 years ago, and the rest of the field were running flat out. The Netherland’s Gregory Sedoc went virtually unnoticed in third, the last automatic qualifier from this heat as spectators were still taking in the amazing superiority shown by Robles.

The fastest tonight was US champion David Oliver who certainly didn’t run flat out but who, just as certainly, wasn’t as easy as Robles. Oliver controlled former World champion Ladji Doucouré who is making a well timed come back from injury. Both Oliver and Doucouré shut it down in the run in with Oliver stopping the clock at 13.16 and Doucouré at 13.39. Spanish national record holder Jackson Quinones claimed the last qualifying spot in this heat in 13.47.

The opening heat was dominated from start to finish by the second and last American still in contention after Terrence Trammell was also out in the first round through injury. Osaka World bronze medallist David Payne ran an effortless 13.24 ahead of Petr Svoboda of the Czech Republic.

However the 91,000 full house bird’s nest was cheering on neither of them. Their incredibly loud roar was to encourage Shi Dongpeng, the 24-year-old who has for so long been in the shadow of Liu Xiang. Despite an appalling start Shi finished very strong and grabbed third in 13.42. He will defend China’s colours in tomorrow’s semi finals.

In fourth Konstadinos Douvalidis set his second national record in two days this time at 13.46, the Greek also advancing to the semis as the fastest loser.

The weakest of four heats was taken by Maurice Wignall in 13.36, a season’s best for the Jamaican former World indoor bronze medallist. Ryan Brathwaite of Barbados was next at 13.44 with Paulo Villar of Colombia also through at 13.46. Incidentally, Mohammed Issa Al-Thawadi of Qatar was the first athlete since the Athletics events started last 15 August to be disqualified for a false start.

The remaining three qualifying spots went to Richard Phillips of Jamaica, Samuel Coco-Viloin of France and Marcel van der Westen of the Netherlands.

As all athletes now prepare for yet another round, all had words of sympathy for Liu Xiang.

Robles said: “It’s a shame what happened to Liu Xiang. I feel bad for him. I would have liked to race against him.”

Ducouré: “He’s a dear friend of mine and I am so sorry for him, so sorry for China because the Beijing Olympics was his competition.”

Payne: “It’s unfortunate. He’s one of the greatest hurdlers out there. I wish he could have made it to the semis, so we could have had the best race.”

Shi: “It’s a pity. I hope he will get well as soon as possible. Before the competition, Liu Xiang gave me a call to encourage me.”

Just to show how good a person, as well as how good a hurdler, Liu Xiang is.

Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF
110 m hurdles Men     Heat 1 19 August      
                 
Rank Mark Wind   Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 13.24 0,1 Q David Payne United States USA 24 Jul 82  
2 13.41 0,1 Q Petr Svoboda Czech Republic CZE 10 Oct 84  
3 13.42 0,1 Q Shi Dongpeng China CHN 6 Jan 84  
4 13.46 0,1 Q Konstadínos Douvalídis Greece GRE 10 Mar 87 NR NUR
5 13.48 0,1 Q Richard Phillips Jamaica JAM 26 Jan 83  
6 13.62 0,1   Mikel Thomas Trinidad and Tobago TTO 23 Nov 87  
7 13.70 0,1   Igor Peremota Russia RUS 14 Jan 81  
8 13.73 0,1   Héctor Cotto Puerto Rico PUR 8 Aug 84  
110 m hurdles Men     Heat 2 19 August      
                 
Rank Mark Wind   Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 13.19 0 Q Dayron Robles Cuba CUB 19 Nov 86  
2 13.36 0 Q Artur Noga Poland POL 2 May 88  
3 13.43 0 Q Gregory Sedoc Netherlands NED 16 Oct 81  
4 13.51 0 Q Samuel Coco-Viloin France FRA 19 Oct 87  
5 13.53 0   Andy Turner Great Britain GBR 19 Sep 80  
6 13.55 0   Lee Jung-Joon South Korea KOR 26 Mar 84 NR
7 13.55 0   Shamar Sands Bahamas BAH 30 Apr 85  
8 13.74 0   David Ilariani Georgia GEO 20 Jan 81  
110 m hurdles Men     Heat 3 19 August      
                 
Rank Mark Wind   Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 13.36 0 Q Maurice Wignall Jamaica JAM 17 Apr 76  
2 13.44 0 Q Ryan Brathwaite Barbados BAR 6 Jun 88  
3 13.46 0 Q Paulo Villar Colombia COL 28 Jul 78  
4 13.48 0 Q Marcel van der Westen Netherlands NED 1 Aug 76  
5 13.63 0   Dániel Kiss Hungary HUN 12 Feb 82  
6 13.66 0   Allan Scott Great Britain GBR 27 Dec 82  
7 13.71 0   Dudley Dorival Haiti HAI 1 Sep 75  
  DQ 0   Mohammed Aissa Al-Thawadi Qatar QAT 18 Nov 81  
110 m hurdles Men     Heat 4 19 August      
                 
Rank Mark Wind   Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 13.16 0,1 Q David Oliver United States USA 24 Apr 82  
2 13.39 0,1 Q Ladji Doucouré France FRA 28 Mar 83  
3 13.47 0,1 Q Jackson Quiñónez Spain ESP 12 Jun 80  
4 13.66 0,1   Selim Nurudeen Nigeria NGR 1 Feb 83  
5 13.72 0,1   Ronald Forbes Cayman Islands CAY 5 Apr 85  
6 13.80 0,1   Ji Wei China CHN 5 Feb 84  
7 13.84 0,1   Anselmo Gomes da Silva Brazil BRA 22 Mar 81  
  DNS 0,1   Damjan Zlatnar Slovenia SLO 16 Dec 77  

Men's 110m Hurdles - Round 1

This morning’s Athletics session here at Beijing’s Bird’s nest had been expected by the whole Chinese population as the day Liu Xiang would begin his acclaimed campaign to retain the historical Olympic title he had taken four years ago at the Athens Games.

Unfortunately for the defending champion and his 1.3 millions supporters, his race ended after three strides.

Rumours had started among the specialised journalists after Xiang confided in 2005 World champion Ladji Doucouré during warm up that he felt unable to compete. Television images confirmed Xiang’s injury scare as he was seen limping in the warm up area. A true competitor Xiang went through the healing hands of three different medical experts and the excruciating pain to step on the track in front of no fewer than 91,000 spectators.

Visibly grimacing in agony and limping up and down the track, Xiang set in the blocks at the starter’s orders. Xiang could only manage three steps before badly hobbling towards the first barrier. As runners were recalled when Marcel van der Westen jumped the gun, the Olympic champion stripped his lane numbers off his baggy shorts and exited through the back door.

This time, the pain was too much.

The intensity of the athlete’s, the coach’s, the nation’s and the world’s disappointment is hard to describe. Thousands of people were seen crying in shock, in horror, in despair.

It is hard to say how many actually watched the race which unfolded after Xiang’s withdrawal but for the record Konstatinos Douvalidis was the heat winner in a new Greek national record 13.49. All athletes from heat six advanced to tomorrow’s quarter finals.

Previously, yet another tragedy unfolded as US Olympic Trials runner-up Terrence Trammell, who was running in lane 2, ironically the same lane that saw the demise of Xiang, also failed to complete his first round heat. Trammell too, seemed like he was suffering before the race as he could only manage the opening 8 steps and a pathetic hurdle flight before stepping on the inside and holding his left leg apparently injured.

A two-time Olympic silver medallist Trammell refused to be taken out on a stretcher and limped all the way out of the Olympic stadium, his dark shades most probably hiding looks of despair.

Again heat winner Artur Noga, the former World Junior champion from Beijing 2006, went virtually unnoticed.

Other heat winners included the only three survivors of the ‘quintet of favourites’, US champion David Oliver being fastest in 13.30. World Championships bronze medallist David Payne took heat four in 13.42 but the most impressive by far this morning was World record holder Dayron Robles who looked like he was running in slow motion as if he was giving a group of young children a hurdling class. His time, not that it mattered, was 13.39.

Colombia’s Paulo Villar took heat three in 13.37, the second fastest time this morning, leading former World Youth champion Ryan Brathwaite to a Barbados national record 13.38.

With 43 athletes entered, 32 advancing to tomorrow’s round 2, Xiang and Trammell out through injury and European champion Stanislavs Olijars a non-starter, only 8 men failed to qualify.

The smallest of consolation for the Chinese fans came from the qualification of Ji Wei, third in heat one, and Shi Donpeng, fourth in heat three albeit both runners have little chances of featuring among Thursday’s medallists.

Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF

Shocking exit – Liu Xiang unable to overcome injury

This morning’s Athletics session here at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest had been expected by the whole Chinese population as the day Liu Xiang would begin his acclaimed campaign to retain the Olympic title he had taken four years ago at the Athens Games.

Unfortunately, for the defending champion and his 1.3 billion supporters, his race ended after three strides.

Rumours had started among the specialised journalists after Xiang confided in 2005 World champion Ladji Doucouré during warm up that he felt unable to compete. Television images confirmed Xiang’s injury scare as he was seen limping in the warm up area. A true competitor Xiang went through the healing hands of three different medical experts and the excruciating pain to step on the track in front of no fewer than 91,000 spectators.

Coach apologises for Xiang's injury

Visibly grimacing in agony and limping up and down the track, Liu set in the blocks at the starter’s orders but could only manage three steps before badly hobbling towards the first barrier. As runners were recalled when Marcel van der Westen jumped the gun, the Olympic champion stripped his lane numbers off his baggy shorts and exited through the stadium tunnel at the back of the start.

This time, the pain was too much.

Reportedly a group of 47 family members, neighbours and friends travelled from Shanghai two days ago to encourage Xiang. The intensity of the athlete’s, the coach’s, the nation’s and the world’s disappointment is hard to describe. Thousands of people were seen crying in shock, in horror, in despair.

“I want to apologize to everyone for Liu Xiang’s injury,” said long-time personal coach Sun Haiping before repeatedly breaking down in tears. “I feel very bad for this result. I feel bad for Liu Xiang and I feel bad for all the people in China.”

Assisted by Dr Feng Shu Yong, the Chinese Athletics Association Team leader, Sun confirmed that Xiang’s withdrawal was caused by the accumulation of two separate injuries: a leg injury which he suffered back in May but which had completely healed coming to Beijing and a chronic right foot injury which intensified last Saturday.

Three doctors assist Liu Xiang

“Liu Xiang has suffered from these problems back and forth for the last six, seven years,” said Sun. “When we arrived at the Olympic Village on 16 August, Liu Xiang underwent an MRI which revealed a problem in his tendon.”

Feng, whose priority was to praise Liu Xiang for his phenomenal achievements over the past four years, confirmed that the 25-year-old’s troubles had indeed been a recurrent feature in the past four years but “there have been measures taken on his injuries and as you could all witness in the last few years he was able to maintain his training regime and compete well through the injury.”

“As you have all seen, Liu Xiang is an athlete with great perseverance and stability. No matter what position he’s in he never drops out so easily. Under the guidance of his coach Sun Haiping he had great training in the winter and although we experienced some difficulties in the US and decided not to run in New York as a precautionary measure, Liu Xiang took some measures and made some adjustments. Until last Saturday he was in excellent shape.

“The injury on his foot intensified while he was training on Saturday but after experts and doctors examined his foot, his injury was eased and he was still very confident.

“As you know there might always be something unexpected happening during warm up and this morning as he was warming up his pain intensified again.

“Even though he was in terrible pain, Liu Xiang warmed up fully at 100% and after receiving treatment from three different doctors he decided to compete in the first round.

Too much pressure on the heel

“I have seen the whole process,” confirmed Feng. “There was huge difficulty but still he was very determined. But no matter what the doctors did, there was nothing that could be done. He could not even stand up as the injury was on his heel of his take off leg. There was too much pressure on the heel.”

“We have done everything possible for Liu Xiang to compete. At times he was shivering, the pain was so intense. The pain was almost intolerable. Still when he went on the track he had the strongest will, he wanted to compete but obviously you all saw the pain on his face.”

Feng was questioned about the immense pressure Liu Xiang found himself under going into the biggest sporting event: “Liu Xiang is a great athlete, he is unique. He can stand the pressure than no other athlete is able to stand."

People will understand

“As the Games approached the pressure mounted but he took the matter very relaxed and just concentrated on his training. It was also a great motivation for him."

“As far as I know everyone expected him to do well and to repeat his gold medal from Athens. It was the wish of all the Chinese people and also people in other countries. But I believe a lot of people are showing understanding. We actually ran a poll on the Internet about 6 months ago asking Chinese people how they would react if Liu Xiang didn’t win and 60% responded that they would show understanding."

“I believe the Chinese people will encourage him to overcome these problems and come back to the track and achieve great performances."

“I have just spoken to him and he's very depressed. Liu Xiang would not withdraw unless the pain is unbearable,” Feng concluded.

And today, in front of the biggest audience in the world, Liu Xiang experienced nothing less than unbearable pain.

Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF

110 m hurdles Men     Heat 1 18 August      
                 
Rank Mark Wind   Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 13.39 0,3 Q Dayron Robles Cuba CUB 19 Nov 86  
2 13.56 0,3 Q Andy Turner Great Britain GBR 19 Sep 80  
3 13.57 0,3 Q Ji Wei China CHN 5 Feb 84  
4 13.60 0,3 Q Richard Phillips Jamaica JAM 26 Jan 83  
5 13.90 0,3   Yevgeniy Borisov Russia RUS 7 Mar 84  
6 14.00 0,3   Oleg Normatov Uzbekistan UZB 4 Sep 81  
7 14.18 0,3   Jurica Grabušić Croatia CRO 28 Mar 83  
110 m hurdles Men     Heat 2 18 August      
                 
Rank Mark Wind   Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 13.30 0,1 Q David Oliver United States USA 24 Apr 82  
2 13.41 0,1 Q Jackson Quiñónez Spain ESP 12 Jun 80  
3 13.45 0,1 Q Shamar Sands Bahamas BAH 30 Apr 85  
4 13.50 0,1 Q Gregory Sedoc Netherlands NED 16 Oct 81  
5 13.65 0,1   Lee Jung-Joon South Korea KOR 26 Mar 84  
6 13.69 0,1   Mikel Thomas Trinidad and Tobago TTO 23 Nov 87  
7 13.84 0,1   Damjan Zlatnar Slovenia SLO 16 Dec 77  
110 m hurdles Men     Heat 3 18 August      
                 
Rank Mark Wind   Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 13.37 0,2 Q Paulo Villar Colombia COL 28 Jul 78  
2 13.38 0,2 Q Ryan Brathwaite Barbados BAR 6 Jun 88 NR
3 13.43 0,2 Q Petr Svoboda Czech Republic CZE 10 Oct 84  
4 13.53 0,2 Q Shi Dongpeng China CHN 6 Jan 84  
5 13.59 0,2   Ronald Forbes Cayman Islands CAY 5 Apr 85 NR
6 13.72 0,2   Héctor Cotto Puerto Rico PUR 8 Aug 84  
7 13.78 0,2   Dudley Dorival Haiti HAI 1 Sep 75  
8 14.52 0,2   Abdul Rasheed Pakistan PAK 15 Feb 79  
110 m hurdles Men     Heat 4 18 August      
                 
Rank Mark Wind   Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 13.42 -1,1 Q David Payne United States USA 24 Jul 82  
2 13.52 -1,1 Q Ladji Doucouré France FRA 28 Mar 83  
3 13.58 -1,1 Q Selim Nurudeen Nigeria NGR 1 Feb 83  
4 13.61 -1,1 Q Maurice Wignall Jamaica JAM 17 Apr 76  
5 13.86 -1,1   Maksim Lynsha Belarus BLR 6 Apr 85  
6 13.89 -1,1   Stanislav Sajdok Czech Republic CZE 22 Jul 83  
7 13.96 -1,1   Masato Naito Japan JPN 31 Jul 80  
110 m hurdles Men     Heat 5 18 August      
                 
Rank Mark Wind   Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 13.53 -0,1 Q Artur Noga Poland POL 2 May 88  
2 13.59 -0,1 Q Igor Peremota Russia RUS 14 Jan 81  
3 13.61 -0,1 Q Dániel Kiss Hungary HUN 12 Feb 82  
4 13.81 -0,1 Q Anselmo Gomes da Silva Brazil BRA 22 Mar 81  
5 13.91 -0,1   Joseph Berlioz Randriamihaja Madagascar MAD 30 Nov 75  
  DNF -0,1   Terrence Trammell United States USA 23 Nov 78  
110 m hurdles Men     Heat 6 18 August      
                 
Rank Mark Wind   Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 13.49 -0,1 Q Konstadínos Douvalídis Greece GRE 10 Mar 87 NR
2 13.54 -0,1 Q Marcel van der Westen Netherlands NED 1 Aug 76  
3 13.56 -0,1 Q Allan Scott Great Britain GBR 27 Dec 82  
4 13.60 -0,1 Q Samuel Coco-Viloin France FRA 19 Oct 87  
5 13.64 -0,1 Q Mohammed Aissa Al-Thawadi Qatar QAT 18 Nov 81  
6 13.75 -0,1 Q David Ilariani Georgia GEO 20 Jan 81  
  DNF -0,1   Liu Xiang China CHN 13 Jul 83  

 

 

 

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