Injured hurdler Liu Xiang itching to race

Beijing, July 5 (IANS) Undergoing rehabilitation treatment in the United States, Chinese star hurdler Liu Xiang cannot wait to return to competition.

"During my stay in the United States, as long as I saw people jogging along the street or dashing on the track in campus, I could feel an itch. I wanted to run with them," Liu Xiang posted late Thursday on Tencent Weibo, a tweet-like social network in China, reports Xinhua.

Liu underwent surgery in London in August after he withdrew from the 110m hurdles for the second consecutive Olympics with a ruptured Achilles tendon. The Shanghai native, who will turn 30 next week, has been in the United States for physical rehabilitation since last October.

Liu's weibo was reposted thousands of times within hours as many followers expressed their blessings and best wishes.

"A fighting Liu Xiang! (Hope you will) Make it to the Olympics again," a follower named "baozj" commented.

However, such positive and supportive attitude was not shared by all netizens in China. Some are still disappointed with Liu as he failed to live up to the expectation and others suspect Liu faked his injuries so as to avoid defeats as well as commercial loss.

"Please don't run any more. I don't want to have my heart broken again," said a follower named Weixun.

"You want to do some more hopping and kiss the hurdle again? Just go away. We do not need another show," said another follower.

Liu smashed into the first hurdle during the 110m hurdles heat in London. He hopped over the rest of the distance on his left foot to symbolically finish his race. He also stopped at the last hurdle and kissed it, earning a rousing ovation from the 80,000 crowd at the Olympic Stadium.

According to his coach Sun Haiping, Liu Xiang's foot recovery is satisfactory but it is impossible for the Athens Olympic champion to return to competition this year.

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