By Zhao Wei, Sina English
China's athletics team leader Feng Shuyong Wednesday insisted that Liu's wound, a rupture of his Achilles tendon, was the result of an unexpected incident.
"Liu Xiang was very confident before the race," Feng said. He denied that the relevant officials forced him to run while aware of his injury. "Protecting athletes is the sports authorities' top principle," he said.
Liu is expected to undergo surgery soon by a renowned British doctor who has performed operations on top athletes including David Beckham, the athletics management center revealed.Authorities said that Liu is not considering retiring.
Tens of millions of Chinese fans glued their eyes onto TV screen at home, in the office and even at subway platforms on Tuesday evening, only to have their hearts broken when the athlete crashed to the ground at the first hurdle and symbolically finished the race by hopping across the finish line.
CCTV commentator Yang Jian said while sobbing that "Liu Xiang finished his competition in the cruelest way that could be imagined," adding that "he is a warrior.
"The scene immediately set off an online buzz on popular microblogging site Sina Weibo. Many echoed Yang's view, showing their compassion and magnanimity to the athlete.
While the incident triggered another round of debate on the country's controversial gold-oriented sporting system, many also deem Liu falls victim to ruthless commercial interests and political overtone.
Amid a flood of comforts were loud skeptical voices from both the public and media, accusing Liu of acting rather than competing at the running track.