Liu tags London Olympics 'should be' his last
Updated: 2012-02-18 09:31
BIRMINGHAM - China's star hurdler Liu Xiang disclosed here on Friday that this summer's London Games "should be" his last Olympic show.
"Now, I feel it should be," said Liu Xiang, who will kick off his new season Saturday in the men's 60m competitions at the Birmingham indoor tournament.
"It should be my last Olympics as an athlete in my sports career," the 2005 world titlist said.
But Liu also added that if he felt good in form, he would sill be possible to compete in the 2016 Games.
"That depends on form, but now, I'm not sure whether I can do that."
The 2004 Olympic champion also played down his clash with rival Dayron Robles of Cuba on Saturday, naming the dramatic finishing between them in last year's world championships a "beautiful accident".
"Both of us are great hurdlers. We have been good friends for many years and when we race together it's great for both of us, as well as great for the sport," said Liu.
It will be the pair's first meeting since the world championships in Daegu last summer, where Liu took silver after Robles was disqualified for disrupting him despite finishing the race in first place.
Robles echoed Liu's words ahead of what should be a mouth- watering battle.
"I forgot about the world championships final straight after it happened. It doesn't make sense to keep thinking about that as I will be racing Xiang again and again. I'm just looking to the future," Robles said.
"We are the fastest three hurdlers of all time, including American David Oliver, but we will have to wait until our careers are over before we see who's the greatest ever. I've been training very hard and I've come out here to win," added the current world record holder.
Robles, who set the world record of 12.87 seconds in Ostrava in 2008, won five times in his 12 previous races against Liu.
But the 25-year-old Cuban is determined to level the record by the end of March as after Saturday's race he will race again alongside Liu then in Stockholm indoor tournament and Istanbul world indoor championships where he hopes to usurp the latter as the world indoor champion.
It will also be Liu's first competition in the at Birmingham's National Indoor Arena since he won bronze in the world indoor championships in 2003 at the age of 19.
"I chose to come to Birmingham because it fits in perfectly with my overall plan for 2012 and I have great memories from competing here in 2003."
Elsewhere, Asafa Powell intended to smash his personal best and put in a world-leading performance in Saturday's 60m sprint.
Having never competed indoors in the UK and nowhere globally since 2004 prior to this year, the former world record holder chose this premier annual indoor athletics event to hone preparations for Olympic gold.
He intends to better his indoor personal best of 6.56 secs and Lerone Clarke's world leading 6.50 seconds against a world-class field including world outdoor bronze medallist Kim Collin in Birmingham.
"I'm not going to say if I do well tomorrow. I really think I'm going to do well tomorrow. I'm very confident.
"I'm looking to go below 6.50 seconds. Lerone (Clarke) is here, as is Nesta Carter and Michael Frater as well, so there is some really good competition. A good time is overdue," said Powell, who will be based in Birmingham with the Jamaican team in the lead-up to the London Olympics.