BEIJING, Aug. 17 (Xinhuanet) -- Former Olympic and world champion Liu Xiang will return to competitive hurdling next year if his recovery continues to go well, his team said this week.
The 30-year-old Liu is close to the end of a scheduled 10-month rehab plan in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and may return to his hometown Shanghai by the end of this month.
His recovery from a ruptured Achilles tendon sustained at last year’s Olympics in London had been going well until May, when he suffered a setback.
Liu would have taken part in the ongoing Moscow world championships this week had he not suffered the setback, according to his recovery team in the US.
“His current situation is much better than last year,” Liu Xuegen, his father, told Shanghai Daily. “He is very likely to come home by the end of the month.”
Liu Xiang is still waiting on a visa extension which would allow the hurdler to continue rehabilitation in the US for up to two more months.
Liu Xiang turned 30 last month. He posted a message on his Tencent microblog, on his birthday, quoting the Chinese phrase “san shi er li,” meaning a man should be independent and think for himself at the age of 30.
Liu’s father said he speaks with his son regularly on the phone and that the conversations are usually about his daily life and not his injury.
“(The future) is for him to decide,” his father said. “Liu and the professional team behind him will evaluate the injury when he is back and work out a plan.”
Tim Grover, a well-renowned sports trainer, has closely monitored Liu Xiang’s rehabilitation in the US. The American was also the trainer of former NBA legend Michael Jordan and current players Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade.
Liu crashed into the first hurdle during the 110m hurdles heats at the Olympics last year, rupturing an Achilles tendon. He completed the race, hopping on one foot and kissing the last hurdle, earning praise from fellow hurdlers and fans.
He also crashed out of the Beijing Olympics back in 2008, much to the dismay of his legions of fans.
(Source: Shanghai Daily)